Vintage wine not just due to hot weather

WHILE experts continue to herald 2003 as a potentially vintage year , the owner of a flourishing Suffolk vineyard has revealed the 100F temperatures have nothing to do with producing fine wine.

WHILE experts continue to herald 2003 as a potentially vintage year , the owner of a flourishing Suffolk vineyard has revealed the 100F temperatures have nothing to do with producing fine wine.

John Kemp, 63, of Giffords Hall, Hartest, is predicting next year's wine could be some of the finest yet.

He admitted: "I think it is going to be a very good harvest but it has absolutely nothing to do with all this hot weather. We keep getting visitors here saying they have heard reports that this hot weather will make a brilliant harvest but it is a load of old cobblers."

Mr Kemp said the weather, which peaked at 98F in nearby Higham, could have a particularly harmful affect on his harvest.


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"The harvest needs to be in a temperate climate – they are no happier in a Mediterranean climate than I am," he joked.

"We have seen signs of leaf scorching and grapes showing signs of blistering. I am normally perfectly happy with an average English summer with a bit of warmth and rain."

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Mr Kemp is safe in the knowledge that the 15,000 bottles produced by the vineyard for next year could be particularly popular.

He said: "Potentially we have a good harvest coming up for two reasons. There was no frost damage in April and May when the vines are in their early stages.

"The next major obstacle we had to overcome is the flowering which takes place during the Wimbledon tennis fortnight in June and July.

"It needs to be warm, dry and preferably breezy. If it is a good Wimbledon then we have a good harvest.

"By mid July, when the hot weather came, the flowering had finished and all the grapes are doing is forming a basic structure.

"When we really need sunshine is when the grapes ripen at the beginning of September. If the weather continues through next month, I will be a happy lad."

The vineyard believes in traditional methods and sells wines sold at the vineyard include Sparkling Brut, Raspberry Wine and their flagship wine the Estate Reserve.

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