Exton Park Vineyard

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Harvest Report 2016

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Harvest 2016:  Fred Langdale’s comments:

‘The fascinating fact about working with an English vineyard is that no two years are the same.  This has been especially true in 2016 – as we come to assess the harvest.


(Late afternoon harvesting)

The temperamental English climate really showed its true colours this year – which justifies our original philosophy to concentrate on non vintage blends, and our decision to build a ‘library’ of reserve wines year after year. Despite lower than normal yields this year, when we combine them with our store of wines from harvests beginning with the 2011, we can continue to create our core Non Vintage range to the consistently high quality the consumer expects.

In 2016 the initial growing season was delayed, as temperatures dropped to -1.6 degrees centigrade, preventing the start of bud burst. This is not normally too much of a problem as vines have the ability to catch up with themselves. Then record amounts of rain in June affected the success of our Pinot’s  flowering. As a result of these two factors (cold weather at bud burst and wet weather at flowering) the final quantity of our Pinot fruit was naturally depleted, and there was no need for our usual ‘green harvest’ in the vineyard.


(Pinot Noir grapes)

However, this was not all bad news, as a smaller crop of the Pinots meant the quality was superb, with balanced acids and sugars. Arguably some of the best fruit I have seen from Exton Park.

After flowering I was sure it was going to be a great Chardonnay year, too.  Generally, Chardonnay bud burst is a week later than the Pinots, so as a result it did not suffer the same problems.  With a successful flowering in late June, the Chardonnay promised to be excellent.


(Ripe Exton Park Chardonnay grapes)

The rest of the 2016 summer gave us perfect conditions for growing grapes in England. At some points in August the temperature reached 32.6 degrees centigrade. We had dry winds and warm weather. I could not have asked for any more.

The fruit ripened rapidly in late September and October, allowing us to make an early start on harvesting. We began on 11th October with our ripest Pinot Noir and pushed on through to finish on 19th with our Chardonnay. A year’s work in the vineyard was harvested, and safely in tanks.

(Head Winemaker, Corinne Seely)

Summing up, the 2016 harvest has given us clean fruit, which was ripe and easy to pick. My instructions to the harvesters was to “pick everything”. And they did.

While there was not as much fruit as normal due to rain in June, both the Pinots and the Chardonnay proved to be of exceptional quality – an undoubted asset not only for our next non vintage blends, but also for our reserve wine store for future years.

As always the harvest at Exton Park for our small but dedicated team was busy, but everything ran smoothly throughout our 55 acre estate. ‘


Fred Langdale, Vineyard Manager

21st October 2016

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