Curious Quercus

Barrels in the distant past were typically used to store and transport goods, including wine and although we have more convenient means of storing wine, oak barrels are still a feature in many wineries. A well-lit cellar stacked with barrels certainly adds to the romance of wine, but Vineyard finds out how oak barrels influence the sensory profile, the wine quality and if they can be replaced by staves, chips or other oak alternatives.

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Building resilience in a perfect storm

Great Britain is an island of weather with many different and competing patterns – and to top that we are now dealing with climate change.  Dr Alistair Nesbitt is a Viticulture Climatologist with significant expertise in how weather and climate interface with wine production. He is based in the UK but advises globally and holds the UK’s first PhD in Viticulture and Climate Science. Vineyard asks Alistair what the likely changes to our growing conditions will be, which opportunities and threats face our industry – and how producers can become more resilient to the changes of the future. 

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Naturally adventurous

Quietly getting on with producing some of the country’s top award-winning wines is Oxney, the UK’s largest single organic estate, tucked away near Rye in rural East Sussex. The focus is on organic production, low intervention winemaking, preserving the soils and treading lightly on the environment. Many may see organic production as an impossible challenge – but Vineyard finds out how Oxney’s resourceful and imaginative approach is resetting the expectations of organic wine production in England – with soils, sheep and silence. 

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In conversation… with James and Simon Hawkins

The specialist English wine shop, Hawkins Bros Fine English Wine was opened in December 2016, by brothers James and Simon Hawkins. Sales have been spectacular – as has the enthusiasm for buying English and buying local. So much so that the shop in the courtyard at Secrett’s Farm Shop, near Godalming in Surrey, is now bursting at its seams – so it is time to expand and open another three premises. 

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