Winemakers on West Sussex’s Nyetimber estate have started their grape harvest three weeks early following the warmest summer on record and expect to bring in a record crop.
The English sparkling wine producer hopes to harvest enough grapes for one million bottles, which would be a first for any solely English producer.
This summer tied with 1976 to be the joint hottest on record and saw ideal levels of rainfall to help the company’s vines flourish across West Sussex, Hampshire and Kent.
Head Winemaker Cherie Spriggs said: “We are very excited about this year’s harvest following ideal conditions over the past few months. English sparkling wine is reaching new heights – the fact that Nyetimber is at the forefront of this growth is a testament to our passion and commitment to excellence.”
The grapes from this year’s harvest will be processed at Nyetimber’s new £9m pressing facility near West Chiltington in West Sussex.
Sparkling wine currently accounts for 66% of all English and Welsh wine produced and HMRC figures show that 3.86 million bottles of sparkling and still wine made in UK vineyards were released for sale in 2017.
Owner and chief executive Eric Heerema said: “Nyetimber has been on a remarkable journey, growing 20-fold in just over a decade. At Nyetimber we are committed to excellence and quality, and our overall vision is to create a brand that will be here for generations to come.”