Derbyshire Wine

vineyard tours , vineyards , wine 🕔May 14, 2018

My wines are 100% grapes grown in Derbyshire, the ‘terroir’, where the product is grown, nurtured and reared – is here, Derbyshire – and that I believe is truly special. All of the ingredients are from here, the money that buys the wines stay here and gets put back into the local economy.

In regards to winemaking; the process of making wine for me, is about making the best of the ingredients I have to hand; for instance in 2012 the summer was terrible, cold, wet, damp and grey (all summer), we had really low sugars and very high acids not conducive for making great wine – so what do you do to combat this? The decision was made to produce sparkling only, as sparkling wine can handle high levels of acid. The decision was made to whole bunch press, meaning we put the grapes into the press not via a crusher and de-stemmer but straight into the press. I then set the press for a slow, low press, meaning any juice that is extracted is as good as it can be.

Because the juice was high in acidity I then put the wine through a process called malolactic fermentation, this is in effect changing the wine from malic acid through to the softer acidity of lactic acid. In the cider world, this is relatively straight forward and occurs as the bacteria present is on the fruit skins, as is the yeast. In wine making, although the MLF can occur naturally, most of the time a culture is added that effectively drops that acidity. The wine then needs at least two years on its secondary fermentation lees to drop further acids.

Why am I telling you this? Because every year is different and therefore every wine is different. The 2013 Madeleine Angevine wine, for example, Renishaw Hall’s flagship still white wine which won a Decanter World wine award in 2015, has been followed by another award-winner; yet the wine itself is hugely different. One is fresh with subtle citrus flavours, the other is soft and honeyed.

For me this is exciting… when tasting (good) wine of any type, each year will be different, some more suited to your pallet and some not. Buying a decent wine in the shop really depends how much money you want to spend. Do bear in mind, for example, that every wine has at least £2.17 of duty and 20% VAT, therefore a £6 bottle is made up of over 50% tax, leaving in the region of £2.50 to pay for the grape growing, wine making, bottle, labels, logistics and the sales margin!

2018 sees a new range of the Renishaw Hall sparkling wines released, all left for a longer period during secondary fermentation, therefore a more complex sparkling wine to be enjoyed. I am really excited by the three wines (three variations of sparkling white wines) and will wait to see what awards they can hopefully bring.

Our vineyard tours are a great day out for people from all areas of the county and beyond – visiting what was once the most northerly vineyard in the world, here on Derbyshire soil. I have met some great characters on these tours, people from as far away as South Africa, New Zealand and from countries across Europe, all eager to visit the vineyard so far ‘north’ of their homes. Adding to this, the many local Derbyshire and south Yorkshire visitors who have discovered a vineyard on their doorstep and come along to enjoy a day out are a pleasure to meet.

I hope to see you on a vineyard tour or at one of the county’s wonderful food and drink fairs this year!


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