Tuesday, 8 June 2010

When I'm 64

This picture is of what was once Pilton Manor Vineyard. It is now planted with an orchard so maybe it has reverted to its true self. The wine they made was truly excellent and there has been a lot of talk in the UK wine business about why so many of the vineyards planted in the 70's and 80's are no longer around. What with all the new plantings I suppose people are questioning whether they will last.The first thing to say is all credit to those pioneers who were really experimenting in a brave new world with varietals and trellising methods. The reality was that for many of them the vineyard was a retirement hobby and the produce only had to reach a basic quality level. They were also told that only obscure German varietals would work and that anything else was a waste of time. Funnily enough, I was also told this by a self proclaimed English Wine expert in the early 1990's.
Once they became too old quality often wasn't sufficiently good to make it worthwhile anybody else taking it over. Todays self proclaimed experts are really quite snooty about these people now that they feel they're part of a real proper wine region but, the old guard gained a  lot of satisfaction and made many of the mistakes that we now routinely avoid. Their wines were often searingly acid and packed with sulphur but, I bet some of these 15-20 years later are suprisingly good.
When we planted, we had the view that possibly our only measure of success would be in 20-30 years time would it still be here and would somebody want to buy it or take it over. You don't hear about Clos Vougeot or Stags Leap being grubbed up for lack of interest when somebody retires! Our aim is to make really full on no compromise great wine, well, you have to have a goal. It may not happen very often if at all, it may not be universally recognised and it most certainly won't make us a fortune but it will be viable.

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