Harvesting begins

As the schools and politicians go back to their houses it is safe to say that the summer is over. This year we have been lucky enough to experience long summer days, with great blue skies but, with the rain clouds now forming overhead, what does September hold for us?

In the world of politics, a potentially gloomy season of parliament conferences begins. With talk in the summer still highlighting our lack of a clear Brexit plan it will be all eyes on the Conservatives to see whether a strategy can be pulled together which will satisfy all party members, business owners and the general public alike. It is quite a tall order and many people would debate whether it is a plan that can be agreed at all. Brexit is certainly being blamed for the uncertainty in the markets and, with share prices falling and house prices slowing down in the summer months’, the autumn will indeed be interesting.

Over the coming weeks it will not be politics but the weather and harvesting timetable that will consumer growers’ thoughts and I will need to remind myself of the trials and tribulations vineyard owners have to endure when I am moaning about taking a coat or umbrella with me when I leave the house!

While ensuring that the grapes are harvested in optimum condition is one of the most crucial steps in the process of winemaking, many people outside the industry do not realise its importance. In fact, on a recent poll in the office, most of my colleagues believed that this would be the easiest part of the season. A reminder that there is more to be done to educate the public about the growing UK wine sector.

As the fruit starts making its way into the wineries across the South East of England, September also plays host to ploughing match season and provides us with multiple opportunities to take a brief break from the madness. Once used as an areana for arable farm workers to demonstrate thier ploughing capabilities, matches today offer so much more to see and do. They are a time when the whole farming community can come together to celebrate the year so far, to talk shop with friends and colleagues, and generally (fingers crossed) enjoy a lunchtime out in the sunshine with the family.

We are, as normal, hosting a tent at the East Kent ploughing match on 26 September at Malmains Farm near Dover. This year we wanted to shine a light on the great wines being produced in East Kent and, in association with Vineyard magazine, are preparing a mini wine tasting for our guests to enjoy in the afternoon. The selection will include an array of still and sparkling wines from Barnsole Vineyard, Chartham Vineyard, Simpsons Wine Estate and Westwell Wines. The team and I are already looking forward to finding our favourite and you are more than welcome to join us to help you choose yours!

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