English Winemaker Nyetimber scraps 2012 harvest

As well as the news today that food prices are likely to go up in winter 2012 due to wet weather, this latest news is saddening - that English winemaker Nyetimber has decided not to harvest its grapes this year because of the bad weather.

Nyetimber, in West Sussex, said the quality and volume of the 2012 harvest was not up to standard.

Cherie Spriggs, winemaker at Nyetimber, said the decision was a difficult one but that "maintaining quality is paramount".

Nyetimber's sparkling wine has been consistently ranked alongside the finest French champagne.

Soil at the vineyard at West Chiltington is geologically identical to the champagne region, but the vines need warm dry weather.

Ms Spriggs said: "My first obligation as the winemaker is to ensure the quality of Nyetimber's wines, and we have collectively come to the decision that the grapes from 2012 cannot deliver the standards we have achieved in the past and will again in the future.

"The decision to not make wine from 2012 is a difficult one, not just for me but for our whole team. However, we all know that maintaining quality is paramount."

Nyetimber's accolades include three times winner of the Best Worldwide Sparkling Wine award at the International Wine and Spirit Competition.

This year's variable weather included the wettest June since records began.

About three million bottles of English wine were made in 2011, but the figure is expected to be down substantially this year.

BBC Article on Nyetimber

Has France had the same issues? Will any of the winemakers be deciding not to make wine from this years harvest?

Haven't heard of anyone writing off the harvest in Burgundy yet. Yields are extremely low around here, probably around 35% less than normal however most of the vignerons I deal with on an almost daily basis are very happy with the quality of the grapes harvested. Estimates are that prices will be up an extra 30%, reflecting the shortage of wine but also the high quality.

However all the vignerons agree that you can never say it is a good year until it is in the bottle - round here that means at least another 18 months before we can be sure.

Chilford Hall near Cambridge seems to be OK. Mind you, I wonder if they will go ahead with their planned red wine launch in the near future and stick with the white.

The French winemakers have 'hinted' I suppose by saying there is still plenty of 2010 and 2011 in stock and having seen the state of a few of the small yards hereabouts, I would not be surprised if some of the ones not working on an almost industrial scale might just write the harvest off.