It’s been an entire year since my last journal post: not for a shortage of things to write about, but perhaps a combination of the hamster wheel of life never seeming to slow down and it always seeming as if the next milestone is the next big thing to talk about.
As a farm, 2021 got off to a pretty crappy start, with an icy tinge in the air. We lit anti-frost candles (above), attempting to avert the worst of the damage. Twenty six frost events over six weeks delayed the season and affected yield too, unscathed we were not. Flowering was so so, but another major setback came with the onset of a wet summer, combined with warm temperatures: the perfect conditions for Downy Mildew (below), which also took its toll. Now we are in the last throws of harvest still, a month later than usual. The fruit coming into the winery has been clean, but yield and ripeness at lower levels than I would wish for. We will make good wines (and more cider than a normal year), but sparkling wines will feature more heavily and less red wine than usual.
Beyond the agriculture, the side of the business that currently sustains us financially and which I can best describe as ‘tourism’, has done so so well this year. Coming out of the blocks at a million miles an hour back in April, it’s been relentless: ‘2021 The Year of the Staycation’. A bit part cameo from our two new bell tents received welcome reviews, the curtain has fallen now on those until the May 2022 sequel. The entire team here, numbering over forty now, have had scant time off and continued to deliver, heroes all. We are currently expanding and opening more nights of the week, rooms open on Sunday’s from next week and we’re extending the food offer too, with pizza inside the bar for the winter and a set menu coming in on Friday lunches. Some of our beloved Mangalitsa pigs are soon to be heading off to you know where, to return celebrated on our menu, as fresh meat or in a few months time, delicious charcuterie.