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Showing posts from 2014
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We've made it into print in the Western Daily Press - 
West vineyard has something to celebrateBy Western Daily Press  |  Posted: August 07, 2014 By JEFF WELLS Guy Smith and Laura Evans of the vineyard in Aller celebrating the first batch of Somerset's only sparkling wine PICTURE: SWNS  Comments (0) Somerset's first sparkling wine to be made from the same grape varieties as champagne was launched with a pop last week at a vineyard in Langport. Guy Smith and Laura Evans, of wine-makers Smith & Evans, based at Higher Plot farm in Aller, celebrated the success of their unique venture at an official launch party at Great Bow Wharf. The 2010 Vintage was made from grape varieties harvested four years ago and is the first sparkling wine ever made in Somerset using the same techniques as champagne. The sparkling wine will now be on sale at outlets across the county including Williams Supermarket in Somerton and Evans The Butcher in Langport. Mr Smith, who has been in the wine …

Miguel - Grandpa to Smith and Evans.

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The man in this photo is Miguel Merino who in some ways is the inspiration for Smith and Evans wine. In the mid 1990s when I was working for the Spanish company Freixenet, I was asked to have dinner with the export guy for a Navarra winery called Ochoa. This sort of thing could be a real chore but Miguel was great and we had a lot of laughs. He was talking about buying a building a winery from scratch.

 In his own words -
Since the beginning of my exporting career I have long dreamt of having my own small "bodega", where I could make a few bottles of wine of the best quality possible. Briones, in the heart of the Rioja Alta,  gathered all the conditions  I was looking for: old steep vineyards of Tempranillo grapes, chalky soil and a climate showing a marked Atlantic influence. Declared a town of historic and artistic merit, Briones is where we decided to site our bodega.
 Twenty years ago, we restored an old 19th Century house on the outskirts of the town. On the adjoining l…

Double Decker Vines.

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When we planted at Higher Plot we chose a system called Double Guyot. Not because it had my name in the title but just because that's what French people did.  Not exactly scientific but as good as anything to start with as it wouldn't stress the vines too much. What we have found is that the plants are happy here, maybe too happy and we can't have that. They give a good yield of grapes but they are also pretty vigorous growing lots of greenery and there's no market for leaves unless you are a Dolmades producer. What we need to do is to transfer that energy into extra grapes.



This year we're experimenting with double decker vines. This will mean more shoots but shorter ones. This has benefits in that less greenery means that there's better airflow which reduces the risk of disease and also potentially better quality as there's less shading and more light to ripen the grapes. Just to name drop, it was recommended to us by the illustrious Richard Smart no le…