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Whitehead Monckton: Important documents

The Standard Terms are potentially the most important document in your business. They should create a contractual and legally binding relationship between you and the other party and set out the terms on which you do business. The Standard Terms normally sets out a number of key contractual rights and obligations which must be adhered to by both parties, as well as the consequences if the provisions are broken.  The Standard Terms therefore give increased clarity and understanding between the parties such that there are, hopefully, no or few disputes.

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Pass me the crystal ball

So far this season, my comments about spring weather conditions in the April issue are ringing true. It has certainly been one of those ‘stop – start’ years so far and this is showing in the vineyard. Shoot growth is uneven; at the time of writing about 50% of shoots are almost at the top wire, while the others are lagging way behind. I do recall the term ‘seasonality’ being used to describe how consistent or inconsistent the weather is during a growing season. Another observation is how well the rachises have developed, with well separated branches and I am hopeful that the bunches will develop with more room for movement i.e. less compaction and lower Botrytis risk. 

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Matthew Jukes wine review: Class system

I love the old ‘The Frost Report’ sketch, ‘I know my place’. If you are familiar with it, then this month’s article will make perfect sense. If you are not, I urge you to search for it and marvel at the minimalist script and the perfect delivery of their lines from John Cleese, Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett. It is unnervingly similar, in an equally light-hearted manner, to the state of play in the English wine world. 

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Erben: Taming of the screw

Screwcaps, Stelcaps, 30×60’s, Vinotwist, however you refer to the screwcap closure used widely across the wine industry they may appear simple and easy to use for the end consumer but hide a technically precise engineering process and require great skill and attention to detail to apply to the bottle. Cap and metal quality/thickness, liner type and the bottle are important in the bottling process but most importantly it is the capping process itself so using a good quality machine is imperative. Calibrating the capping head before each bottling run is imperative to ensure consistency and quality and being able to check performance is critical to ensure a successful bottling.

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In conversation…with Henry Butler

How has English wine changed as a category since you started working in the shop?

When my parents first started the business the wine selection was based around the then classics, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Hungarian sweet wines and ports. I can’t say I remember a lot of English wines when I was small, but there must have been because I remember being dragged round vineyards; Breaky Bottom was great because it had pigs. 

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A golden age in the Garden of England

Since the first third of an acre of vines was planted at Biddenden in 1969, the Barnes family have poured their hearts into the creation of award-winning English wines and the development of the wider industry. Believed to be the oldest commercial estate still owned and managed by direct descendants, Vineyard editor Victoria Rose met with the second- and third-generation viticulturists and winemakers to reflect on an everchanging English wine scene, delights from the 2018 harvest and on-going development on the 25-acre estate.

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