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News Article | November 10, 2015

Acolon grapes are ready to be transported from a vineyard near Scaynes Hill, part of the wine department of Plumpton College in East Sussex (AFP Photo/Glyn Kirk) More Plumpton (United Kingdom) (AFP) - While climate change menaces vineyards in southern Europe, English winemakers are raising a toast to warming weather as it improves their wines and has helped revive an ancient tradition. "Climate change is benefitting us a lot," said Chris Foss, head of the Wine Department at Plumpton College, the first to offer courses in winemaking in Britain and a symbol of its maturing wine industry. "Generally speaking for the English wine industry climate change has been a big big bonus, it really helps us develop." England has gone from having only a few wineries three decades ago to having more than 600 today, according to Alistair Nesbitt, who researches climate change and the wine industry at the University of East Anglia. Most of Britain's winemakers are located in Surrey, Sussex and Kent in southeast England and in Hampshire in the southwest. But more have begun to spring up in the north, particularly in Yorkshire and Scotland. Global warming means "an increase in average temperatures during the summer and autumn, which is good for ripening the grapes" according to Julien Lecourt, head of viticulture research for East Malling Research in Kent. Scientists also predict a rise in average temperatures in winter and spring, and less rain in summer, which would help to contain diseases like botrytis cinerea and mildew. Higher minimum temperatures during winter and spring would also mean less dangerous late frost to crops, Lecourt added. Climate change and chalky soils have largely benefitted English sparkling wines, which accounted for more than two thirds of the more than six million bottles produced last year. "The quality of sparkling wine is really, really good," said Nesbitt, reflected by the numerous awards gleaned worldwide by the industry in recent years. Glasses of Ridgeview Grosvenor Blanc de Blancs 2009, a sparkling wine from the South Downs in Sussex, got an official stamp of quality when it was served at Buckingham Palace at a state dinner in October in honour of visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping. "As temperatures continue to increase there will be greater opportunities for better quality still wines, including red varieties," according to Collette O'Leary, marketing director of the 10-year-old Bluebell vineyard in Sussex. On some years, some vineyards have been able to produce good pinot noirs, according to Foss, but the quality cannot yet be relied upon due to changable weather that remains a dampener on potential. "We also see that yields and temperatures are very variable from year to year," Nesbitt said. "So the average warming pattern is not a straight line because it's up and down." For example 2012 was particularly difficult for growers due to a cold and rainy month of June that caused a very late grape harvest, that was still ongoing in early November. "We shouldn't kid ourselves, Britain is not about to become the Rioja," said Lecourt, referring to the region known for Spain's most famous wine. "We are talking about a temperature increase of between zero and two degrees by 2038." As for commercial production farther to the north, it doesn't look likely. "You could go and grow a vineyard in Greenland or Iceland if you wanted to, but that's different from having commercial production," said Nesbitt. "If you're talking about serious production, you've got to draw a line in the middle of England." And the little industry still has far to go, covering just 2,000 hectares (nearly 5,000 acres) of planted vines at present. "The vineyard acreage in the UK at the moment is a bit higher than Tasmania," Nesbitt said. "It's beautiful but it's small. It can grow and it will grow significantly." Meanwhile, in the face of similar ambitions in Belgium, Denmark and Sweden, England has managed to make the most progress, according to Lecourt, who notes that there is an ancient English tradition of winemaking. "We must not forget that the Romans planted vines here," Lecourt said. "When Aquitaine was under English rule, the English were involved with the explosion of winemaking there," he said, referring to a region of France.

Tolhurst B.A.,University of Brighton | Allan I.U.,University of Brighton | Glass D.,Plumpton College | Atkins P.J.,Plumpton College | And 5 more authors.
Bird Study | Year: 2014

Capsule Skylarks and Yellowhammers generally did not preferentially establish territories in flax relative to autumn-sown crops on lowland farmland.Aims To investigate the biodiversity value of flax using farmland birds as indicator species.Methods Field surveys took place annually between 2009 and 2011 in Northern France, during the breeding season. Fifteen 1km grid squares were surveyed using a grid-transect method during the periods of greatest avian activity. Territories were identified by the presence of singing males, which were assigned to crop types. Pairwise habitat comparisons were performed.Results Our results suggest that flax is not universally beneficial for Yellowhammers and Skylarks in our study area. However there were inter-specific differences in its use: Skylarks established more territories in flax than in oilseed rape, ploughed fields or improved grassland, whereas Yellowhammers mostly avoided flax fields in preference for grassland, ploughed fields and barley.Conclusion Overall, Skylarks and Yellowhammers did not preferentially establish territories in flax relative to autumn-sown crops, although some selection for flax by Skylarks was evident. Further work is required to: (a) quantify breeding success in flax relative to other crops and (b) investigate the effect of flax on territory densities of other species. © 2013 British Trust for Ornithology.

Kemp,Lincoln University at Christchurch | Kemp,Plumpton College | Harrison R.,Lincoln University at Christchurch | Creasy G.L.,Lincoln University at Christchurch
Australian Journal of Grape and Wine Research | Year: 2011

Background and Aims: Mechanical leaf removal of Pinot Noir vines was carried out in a commercial vineyard in Waipara, New Zealand in the 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 growing seasons. The aim was to investigate the effects of different timings on flavan-3-ol composition and concentrations in Pinot Noir wine produced from the treatments. Methods and Results: Treatments were leaf removal from the fruiting zone 7 days after flowering, 30 days after flowering and at veraison (by visual assessment), and no leaf removal (control). Proanthocyanidin concentrations in berries by the methylcellulose precipitation assay at harvest showed no difference between treatments, although the LR7 wine had the highest methylcellulose precipitable tannin concentration in 2007-2008, the LR30 wine had the highest concentration in 2008-2009 and the NLR wine had the lowest in both years; the 2009 wines had increased concentrations compared to 2008. Greatest concentrations of flavan-3-ol monomers by reverse phase high performance liquid chromatography were found in LR7 wines. An increase in the ratio of 2,3-trans to 2,3-cis flavan-3-ols was observed with earlier leaf removal. The mean degree of polymerisation (mDP) by acid catalysis in the presence of phloroglucinol showed no statistical difference between wines. Conclusions: Early timing of mechanical leaf removal increases proanthocyanidin concentration, but has no influence on the mDP. Increased severity of defoliation and/or higher alcohol levels in the 2008-2009 growing season were responsible for the differences in total tannin concentration compared to the previous year. Significance of the Study: The timing of mechanical leaf removal can influence wine flavan-3-ol concentrations. © 2011 Australian Society of Viticulture and Oenology Inc.

Sano Y.,Hokkaido University | Morris H.,Jodrell Laboratory | Morris H.,Plumpton College | Shimada H.,Hokkaido University | And 3 more authors.
Annals of Botany | Year: 2011

Background and Aims Imperforate tracheary elements (ITEs) in wood of vessel-bearing angiosperms may or may not transport water. Despite the significance of hydraulic transport for defining ITE types, the combination of cell structure with water transport visualization in planta has received little attention. This study provides a quantitative analysis of structural features associated with the conductive vs. non-conductive nature of ITEs. Methods Visualization of water transport was studied in 15 angiosperm species by dye injection and cryo-scanning electron microscopy. Structural features of ITEs were examined using light and electron microscopy. Key Results ITEs connected to each other by pit pairs with complete pit membranes contributed to water transport, while cells showing pit membranes with perforations up to 2 m were hydraulically not functional. A close relationship was found between pit diameter and pit density, with both characters significantly higher in conductive than in non-conductive cells. In species with both conductive and non-conductive ITEs, a larger diameter was characteristic of the conductive cells. Water transport showed no apparent relationship with the length of ITEs and vessel grouping. Conclusions The structure and density of pits between ITEs represent the main anatomical characters determining water transport. The pit membrane structure of ITEs provides a reliable, but practically challenging, criterion to determine their conductive status. It is suggested that the term tracheids should strictly be used for conductive ITEs, while fibre-tracheids and libriform fibres are non-conductive. © 2011 The Author.

Liu P.,Fudan University | Gilchrist P.,University of Brighton | Taylor B.,Plumpton College | Ravenscroft N.,University of Brighton
Agriculture and Human Values | Year: 2016

This paper uses a multiple case study approach to researching people’s everyday lives and experiences of six community farms and gardens in diverse settings in China and England. We argue that collective understandings of community are bound up in everyday action in particular spaces and times. Successful community farms and gardens are those that are able to provide suitable spaces and times for these actions so that their members can enjoy multiple benefit streams. These benefits are largely universal: in very different situations in both England and China, CSA members make strong connections with the land, the farmers and other members, even in cases where they rarely visit the farms and gardens. This suggests that community farming and gardening initiatives possess multi-dimensional transformational potential. Not only do they offer a buffer against industrialised and remote food systems, but they also represent therapeutic landscapes valued by those who have experienced time spent at or in connection with them. Our findings indicate that—regardless of location or cultural context—these benefits are durable, so that people who have been engaged in multiple activities at a community farm or garden continue to enjoy these benefits long after most of their engagement has ceased. © 2016 The Author(s)

Smyth M.,University of Ulster | Nesbitt A.,Plumpton College
Energy for Sustainable Development | Year: 2014

The English (and Welsh) wine production industry, with more than 120 wineries, has many challenges linked to its northerly cool climate conditions and youthful status as a quality wine-producing country. The subject of sustainability remains important for producers, particularly as a means of improving the economic viability of wine production.This paper presents energy usage within English winemaking facilities based upon energy audits conducted at an individual winery level. The survey did not include vineyard operations or energy usage. The wineries surveyed were representative of the geographic distribution of producers in England and included a range of production scales from a few thousand bottles per year to over 300,000 bottles per year. The combined (average yearly) bottle production for the wineries surveyed was 1,032,194 bottles, representing almost 26% of the total wine production capacity in England and Wales, expending 512,350. kWh of energy. Almost 44% of the energy expended in English wine production is related to heating, cooling and ventilation (HVAC) requirements, with 22% related to lighting. Extrapolating the study findings to the entire English winemaking industry (winery only) indicates that 2008. MWh of energy was expended in 2011. The average energy benchmark for English wine production is 0.557. kWh/l, ranging from 0.040. kWh/l to 2.065. kWh/l, which compares favourably with other wine producing regions. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

Van Sluyter S.C.,Australian Wine Research Institute | Van Sluyter S.C.,University of Melbourne | Van Sluyter S.C.,Macquarie University | McRae J.M.,Australian Wine Research Institute | And 6 more authors.
Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry | Year: 2015

Protein haze is an aesthetic problem in white wines that can be prevented by removing the grape proteins that have survived the winemaking process. The haze-forming proteins are grape pathogenesis-related proteins that are highly stable during winemaking, but some of them precipitate over time and with elevated temperatures. Protein removal is currently achieved by bentonite addition, an inefficient process that can lead to higher costs and quality losses in winemaking. The development of more efficient processes for protein removal and haze prevention requires understanding the mechanisms such as the main drivers of protein instability and the impacts of various wine matrix components on haze formation. This review covers recent developments in wine protein instability and removal and proposes a revised mechanism of protein haze formation. © 2015 American Chemical Society.

McPhie J.,University of Cumbria | Clarke D.A.G.,Plumpton College
Journal of Environmental Education | Year: 2015

This article considers practice for environmental education from the perspective of the material turn by taking the reader along on an outdoor learning session in a park. We present a fictional walk where we encounter plants, trees, wasp-orchids, stones, walking sticks, plastic bags, people, weather, and kites, each of which has a story to tell that demonstrates ontological immanence and the material process of being alive. These stories help suggest some practical ways in which environmental education can be reoriented from an essentialist paradigm to one of becoming, tackling prevailing conceptions of the human mind as disembodied from the world. © 2015 Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

Marangon M.,Australian Wine Research Institute | Marangon M.,Plumpton College | Van Sluyter S.C.,Australian Wine Research Institute | Van Sluyter S.C.,University of Melbourne | And 3 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2014

Grape thaumatin-like proteins (TLPs) play roles in plant-pathogen interactions and can cause protein haze in white wine unless removed prior to bottling. Different isoforms of TLPs have different hazing potential and aggregation behavior. Here we present the elucidation of the molecular structures of three grape TLPs that display different hazing potential. The three TLPs have very similar structures despite belonging to two different classes (F2/4JRU is a thaumatin-like protein while I/4L5H and H2/4MBT are VVTL1), and having different unfolding temperatures (56 vs. 62°C), with protein F2/4JRU being heat unstable and forming haze, while I/4L5H does not. These differences in properties are attributable to the conformation of a single loop and the amino acid composition of its flanking regions. © 2014 Marangon et al.

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