Here are a few pictures from my first ever day picking grapes. This took place thanks to a chance look at the web site of Davenport Vineyards who were asking anyone interested in picking grapes to get in touch. I had just recently tasted their Limney Estate 2006 at a tasting panel organised by Sparkling English Wine and rated it the best of the bunch on tasting that day so it seemed an ideal opportunity.
This first photo was taken on arrival around 8am in the morning in Davenport's vineyard in deepest Kent in South East England. Overcast but dry initially it turned into a reasonable day for picking. If you look very carefully in the top left hand corner of the picture you will see the "hawk" - not real of course - that is flown above the wines to deter starlings. It works for about three weeks or so I am told then the starlings get wise and go for the grapes.
Some of the morning's pickings of ripe and sweet Bacchus grapes with lots of good clusters. Towards the bottom of the slope however the clusters were less well formed, caused by frost in the valley earlier in the year.
Ripe Bacchus grapes just ready for picking.
If you read Decanter magazine, you will have seen the piece on the back page featuring a vineyard dog of the month. This one is Nelson, a bundle of energy who likes nothing better than nuzzling up to the pickers with a tennis ball. They fall for it, throw the ball which Nelson then brings back and the whole cycle starts over again. Its a time waster when you are meant to be picking grapes but great fun as he is such a lovely dog.
Finally a picture of the newly arrived press which was going to be put to good use the evening we picked the Baachus, slowly pressing the grapes over night all two tonnes of them.
An enjoyable day. Next week it's pinot noir.