I just can’t resist the temptation to ask the difference between English football and English wine...
Answer: At least our wines can hold their own at international competitions. But that might invite our friends in the Mosel to join in and Germany is having quite enough of a good thing already.
Anyway - sport apart - it’s turning out a perfect summer for Devon’s growing band of vineyards.
The fruit set ( from the Pinot Noir to the red grape Rondo) has been magnificent, and we have built in a week to 10 days of extra ripening for the grapes thanks to the early flowering.
With the vineyard looking so good, it’s an extra pleasure to take our many visiting groups around the three hectares and the winery, though with an average size of 20 people and our wine tasting of the two fizzes, two dry whites, a rose and a red , that works out at 120 tastings an evening - in a busy week of tours we can easily notch up 500!
Interest in our wines from the wider world has never been higher. We seem on target for 20,000 unique users on the website - so that’s getting towards twice as many people as visit the vineyard in a year.
With one or two dishonourable exceptions the co-operative spirit among Devon’s vineyards is also healthy at the moment. Some of the newer and smaller ventures now meet informally thanks to the prompting of one of the youngest of the new generation of growers, Jamie Quance at Summermoor. Pebblebed’s young winemaker Alex Mills is due to discuss the meteoric rise of our county’s sparkling wines on Radio Devon soon - Alex got bitten by the bug here many years ago as a teenager running the Terrace Cafe at Yearlstone.
Even the local wine trade is finally getting the message. From the Bridge House Hotel in Bampton to the Rendezvous Wine Bar in Exeter’s Southernhay, there is the stirrings of a newfound (and long awaited pride) in our internationally acclaimed wines.
With a fair wind from here we really do look on for a real bumper harvest this year and not running out of wines as has happened every year for the past decade!
For a taste of our white and pink fizzes catch us at the Mid Devon Show on 26 July.