• By Sue Shelden   |   Saturday, November 10, 2012 at 8:04 pm   |     |   Print   |   Permalink

“FOR OVER TWENTY YEARS NYETIMBER HAS HAD A SINGLE AIM: TO MAKE THE FINEST ENGLISH SPARKLING WINE, ONE TO RIVAL THE VERY BEST IN THE WORLD, INCLUDING CHAMPAGNE,” states the Nyetimber website.

Sadly, because of this year’s crazy weather, the English Nyetimber vineyard has scraped their entire 2012 grape harvest, because it was not up to their high standards. With their sparkling wines considered to be on par with the finest French champagnes, winemaker, Cherie Spriggs told the BBC “maintaining quality is paramount.”

Growers around the world have had their share of problems–excessive heat, cold, rain, drought, hail damage, etc., much of it causing a reduction in the yield. The good news in all of this is that sometimes the smaller crops yield a more intense flavor in the grapes.

Indiana growers have dealt with a warm spring, which created a head-start for the grapes, followed by freezing temperatures, which damaged some of the tender shoots. Oliver Winery even brought in a helicopter to fly overhead to try to help keep the warm air down among the vines, during an early freeze.

Then there was the drought. Because the grape plants thrive in hot dry conditions, the drought didn’t have as devastating an effect on them as it did on corn and other crops. But, it was still a tough time for all growers. Butler Winery used drip hoses to try to keep everything from completely drying up, until the watering ban took effect. Finally, the rains came, saving some fields and vineyards, but too late for others. The final word from the local vintners is that this harvest was smaller than they would have hoped for, but that the grapes are so flavorful that the wines will be magnificent!

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