News Article | May 4, 2017
Climate change could be a boon to the UK wine industry, making Britain one of the world’s largest wine producers by the middle of this century, the New York Times reports. British winemakers have benefited from warmer temperatures in recent years. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Britain’s climate is warming faster than the global average. Prospective wine industries in China, Russia and Scandinavian counties also stand to benefit from drier summers and less snow and frost. “Global warming is definitely benefiting the UK wine industry,” Chris Foss, who oversees the wine department at Plumpton College, tells the New York Times. “The industry has potential to expand at least five times, if not 10.”
News Article | May 2, 2017
English winemakers are reporting “catastrophic” crop damage after the worst frost in a generation wiped out at least half of this year’s grape harvest. Chris White, the chief executive of Denbies Wine Estate in Surrey, said up to 75% of its crop was damaged by last week’s sub-zero temperatures: “The temperature dropped to -6C and at that level it causes catastrophic damage to buds,” he said. White said staff had worked in vain using special fans and heaters to protect the vineyard, which at 265 acres in the UK’s biggest, after an Arctic blast swept across the UK. “We are very disappointed and it’s quite heartbreaking for the people who work in the vineyard all year round,” he said. “From what I hear the majority of English vineyards have been affected to some degree.” Some of France’s most famous winemaking regions, including Champagne, Bordeaux and Burgundy, were also affected by last week’s severe frosts. The bad weather is expected to mean another poor year for French producers after last year’s cocktail of hail, frost and mildew resulted in one of the smallest harvests in 30 years. The blow dealt to this year’s wine harvest is a setback for an industry enjoying huge success, with Denbies, Nyetimber and Ridgeview among the South Downs vintners winning international acclaim for sparkling – and increasingly still – wine produced in an area that has a geology and microclimate similar to Champagne. It also comes after four record years, a strong run that has encouraged the industry to plan a record 1m vines over the next 12 months. The number of acres planted with grapevines in England and Wales has already more than doubled to about 5,000 acres over the past 10 years with two big French champagne houses, Taittinger and Vranken-Pommery Monopole, among those investing in English wine projects. Chris Foss, head of the wine department at Plumpton College in East Sussex, said he had contacted vineyard owners around the south-east to gauge the bad weather’s impact on this year’s harvest and while some crops were unscathed others had been “decimated” with 90% of buds destroyed. One grower described it as the “worst frost since 1997”. “I’ve been in English wine for 30 years and never seen anything like it,” said Foss. “It looks like there will be a 50% drop in this year’s expected yield – if not higher.” The length of the winemaking process means the supply squeeze will not become apparent to wine drinkers until 2018 when this year’s still wines are released and 2020 for sparkling wine. Nick Wenman, who owns the Albury organic vineyard in Surrey, said the devastating cold snap had been the biggest setback he had faced since planting the vineyard eight years ago. Despite lighting 500 candles and burners to warm the air, 80% of its vines were damaged by the freezing temperatures. “It’s been a stark reminder of the difficulties faced by wine producers in the country, and yes … at this moment we are asking ourselves whether we were mad to try and grow vines in England,” said Wenman who is trying to look on the bright side. “Some buds have escaped altogether and the damaged vines should develop secondary buds … whilst these may not be as fruitful or have as much time to ripen, they give us hope for a harvest this year.”
News Article | May 17, 2017
The BWS team has also added wines from New Zealand and Australia, boosted its still and sparkling English wine range, and added to its “everyday” global wine range, ‘Craft 3’. Last month M&S unveiled its new 32-strong en primeur Bordeaux selection from the 2014 vintage, which was selected by wine buyer Emma Dawson MW along with M&S’s fine wine partners, négociant houses Maison Sichel and JP Moueix. Dawson has added to the fine wine range with a selection of small parcels of new vintages for summer, including wines from New Zealand, Australia and Lioco Sonoma Chardonnay’s to represent the new wave wines from California. “The aim has been to develop a range that truly inspires our fine wine customer, offering them both diverse choice and value at that level,” Dawson said. Other highlights from the summer collection include seven new wines from Chile and Argentina, including a new Chilean brand Costa Fresca which developed for M&S exclusively with Casa Marin. This comprises a Sauvignon Blanc from San Antonio (RRP: £9.00) and a Pinot Noir from Casablanca, and an Argentine Malbec, Eggo Malbec, from Gualtallary-based producer Zorzal. Finally it has added a Vaglio Malbec Vista Flores 2016 (RRP: £12.00), and Vaglio Rose 2016 (RRP: £10.00) from Jose Lovaglio, the son of Argentinian winemaker Susana Balbo, who is based in the Uco Valley. Winemaker Jenever Williams described the rose – a 40% Malbec, 25% Pinot Noir, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Syrah, and 2% Torrontes blend – as a “unique blend” that showed “new ways of working with Malbec and Torrontes”. Four wines have been added from New Zealand – including an entry level Sauvignon Blanc in the Koha range (RRP: £8.50), a more premium “brisk” Koha Fantail Sauvignon Blanc (RRP: £10.00), and a Seifried Grüner Veltliner (RRP: £11.00), and four from Australia. Winemaker Belinda Kleinig explained that the team had concentrated on some of the most established wine areas in Australia “where the history of wine production is allowing winemakers to really understand the strengths of their regions”. This includes a new Hunter Valley Semillon from Tyrrels of Hunter Valley (RRP: £13.00) to its core range, to pair ith the existing Chardonnay and Shiraz, as well as an exclusive food-friendly Barossa Viognier from Yalumba (RRP: RRP: £10.00), and a new McLaren Vale Shiraz from Wirra Wirra (RRP: £13.00). It has also extended its ‘Craft 3’ range of “everyday” New World wines (RRP: £10.00 – £13.00) to include a new Marlborough Pinot Noir, a subtly oaked Adelaide Hills Chardonnay, and a Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon from producer De Martino in Isla de Maipo. These will sit alongside the existing Argentinian Malbec, South African Chenin Blanc, Californian Zinfandel, and original Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. It has also brought in wines from DO Emporda in Northeastern Catalonia, including a red Empordalia Joven, Sinols Negre 2016 (RRP: £11.00), from an association of cooperatives that was formed in 2015 to increase the quality and promotion of wines from the region. Other northern Spanish wines new to the range include a Galicia Ribeiro DO from Val de Souto (RRP: £12.00), an exclusive Treixadura, Godello and Loureriro blend from a small independent grower-winery (colleirerios), and a moder style white Rioja, Tierras del Isasa 2016 (RRP: £11.00) from Bodegas Ontanon in Rioja Baja. Finally, it has expanded its range of English wines, with two sparkling, three still and one red wine. This includes a sparkling wine from Dorset vineyard, Langham Classic Cuvee 2016 (RRP: £25), Among the still wines is M&S’s first English Chardonnay, Lyme Bay Classic Cuvee (RRP: £20.00) made by Liam Idzikowsk, and a still wine made from Champagne varieties made by Joe Arthur, a Plumpton College final year student being sponsored by the retailer(RRP: £15). Two Plumpton alumni are behind Urban Foxes, a single-vineyard still Bacchus from Kent, one of two Bacchus wines, along with a Bacchus 2015 from Denbies (RRP: £15.00). It is also stocking Litmus Pinot Noir, (RRP: £30.00) which Kelly described as “the best English red that I have tasted by some way.” “This regional selection elevates the work from previous years on our English wine range, and now we have 19 counties represented,” BWS trading manager Suzanne Webb said.
News Article | May 24, 2017
There was a time when English wine was the butt of jokes among connoisseurs, and given the inferior quality of what was being produced, many would say, deservedly so. Today, however, thanks to a combination of climate change, increased wine knowledge and more investment, British wines are flourishing. In the last decade the number of acres planted with grapevines in England and Wales has grown by 135%, according to the English Wine Producers trade body, and over the next 12 months UK wine producers will plant a record 1 million vines, increasing production by 2 million more bottles of wine annually. The fact that the prestigious French champagne brand Taittinger has planted a vineyard in Kent with the aim of producing a top quality English sparkling wine is the clearest signal yet that the climate – both economic and meteorological – is right for English wines. Wine enthusiast Neil Deacon, founder of pop-up wine-tasting events company Vintwined, says: “The quality of English wines has improved massively in recent years and consumer perception is starting to change. This is due to a number of different factors, including climate. Although damaging for the planet as a whole, one small benefit of climate change is that the average temperatures in the south of England have risen sufficiently to make wine production viable.” Among the best selling English wines, sparkling wines tend to be the “must stock” item for restaurants and wine shops. Brett Woonton, co-founder of wine bar chain Vinoteca, says: “This has only increased in recent times due to higher production and the wines continuing to be positively featured in the press and in wine competitions. But let’s not forget easy-drinking whites, typically made from early and easy ripening grapes such as müller-thurgau and bacchus, and from producers such as Denbies and Chapel Down, which sell in significant numbers.” All of this bodes well for the many small wine producers based in the south of England. Bolney wine estate in Sussex was established in 1972 by Janet and Rodney Pratt, and was one of the first commercial vineyards in England. In the 1990s their daughter Sam Linter took over the running of the vineyard, which today employs around 25 people and turns over £1.2m a year. She says: “We make red, rose and white still wines, plus white and rose sparkling wines. Our most popular wines are our white pinot gris – the only English wine in Wimbledon All England Tennis Club – red pinot noir, and Blanc de Blanc sparkling wine. We make 50% still and 50% sparkling and currently produce around 150,000 bottles a year.” Bolney wine estate also exports, mainly the sparkling wines that have the international recognition, to Japan, US, Belgium, Switzerland and the Netherlands. Another important factor behind the British wine boom is an increase in knowledge about viticulture, and significantly, a sharing of that knowledge between producers. “Unlike many other wine regions, there is more collaboration among wine producers in England than there is competition,” explains Deacon. “They recognise the need to work collectively to raise the standards of English wine and improve consumer perception of English wines, and it is working.” They also share the problems, for example, when England’s marginal climate makes it difficult to grow grapes in challenging years. “Unless the vineyard is planted on a good site it will be challenging every year,” says Liam Idzikowski, expert winemaker at Lyme Bay Winery in Devon, which processes around 100 tonnes of English wine grapes a year, and also produces cider and meads. “The wines will be expensive and the quality poor, which could put people off English wine.” He has concerns about the prospect of a million or more vines being planted this year. “Many may not be planted in sites that are suitable,” he says. “English wine is still very much a cottage industry and without planting regulations anyone with some land can try and produce English wine.” Nevertheless, some already have tried, and succeeded. Nestled in the chalky hills of the South Downs in Hampshire, are the Raimes vineyards where, in 2011, Augusta and Robert Raimes, the fifth generation of the family to farm the fields, planted chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier on 10 acres of their family farm. “Farming, particularly arable farming, no longer involves a lot of people,” says Augusta. “Instead we have two tractors with satellite technology that comfortably manages 1,500 acres of arable production and two employees. Our diversification into growing grapes does involve people and that is very appealing to us. We have a growing family and together we get out there to do as much of the hand work as we possibly can ourselves.” Their first vintage was limited to 900 bottles, being a small harvest from young vines. In 2013 they picked four tonnes of grapes, which increased to 22 tonnes the following year as the vines matured. As a boutique producer, the wine is made with state of the art contract winemaking facilities at Hattingley Winery. “We keep up to date with the latest training and research through educators such as Plumpton College, and get advice from consultants from as far as New Zealand,” she says. “Being a new brand to the market we have been delighted by the interest in English wine. The demographic is often young professionals and often those choosing to drink less but better quality, and in general they have a real interest in wine.” If the findings of a new study commissioned by Laithwaite’s Wine are anything to go by, changing levels of temperature and rainfall in Britain could create opportunities for budding viticulturists in areas farther north, including the east of England and even Edinburgh, potentially becoming leading wine producing regions by 2100. With time comes experience, and as English wine producers learn what the optimum conditions are for growing vines, they will plant more, produce more and increase their yields. “English winemakers have more confidence now and it shows,” says wine expert Oz Clarke. “They are producing wines that consumers love, and have even started to create a niche for themselves of low alcohol wines packed with flavour. Red wine sales from particularly the pinot noir grape are reaching levels completely unheard of 10 years ago, which is extremely exciting. The future is very bright for our nation’s winemakers.” Sign up to become a member of the Guardian Small Business Network here for more advice, insight and best practice direct to your inbox.
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.
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.
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.
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.