How are the vines at Bolney looking at the moment?
The vines are looking very healthy and strong, with what looks like a good potential crop.
What are your hopes for the season ahead?
I am hoping for good flowering weather and a good ripe harvest come September.
Are you trialling anything new in the vineyard this year? If so, what?
This year we are bringing down the height of the training system in our 18-acre field, from the high Sylvos to a more traditional VSP.
How has Plumpton helped you in your career?
I was already working at Denbies Wine Estate when I attended Plumpton, but Plumpton gave me the education and knowledge to back up the hands-on experience I was already receiving.
How did you find out about the courses at Plumpton?
Through my manager or other co-workers (I think).
What is your most memorable experience of your time at Plumpton?
The only really memorable moments were trying to get to college in a very unreliable car!
What advice would you give to students/new entrants to the industry?
Get as much hands-on experience as you can, as well as getting the formal education.
Typically, what jobs do you organise for Plumpton’s placement students?
They get to do anything we are currently doing in the vineyard, so that depends on the time of year that they are with us.
Out in the vineyard which is your favourite variety to work with, and why?
Dornfelder, for their large bunches of grapes.
If you weren’t working in viticulture what would you be doing?
Not entirely sure but I started out as a chef, so I may have stayed in catering.
What is your favourite time of year?
I like spring time in the vineyard, as the vines come to life. Although not the prospect of frost watch!
To spray, or not to spray?
To spray – a robust preventative spray programme can save you from a lot of problems later in the season.
Do you have any particularly problematic vineyard pests and how do you deal with them?
We have a few problems with deer in a couple of our fields and we have spent a few hours over the seasons trying to chase them out of gates. Not very successfully at times.
What is the best thing about working in an English vineyard?
Working in a Sussex vineyard gives me the chance to be outside, enjoying the fresh air and the lovely countryside if not always the weather.
Are there any unusual vineyard management practices you have brought to Bolney?
I have changed the pruning system in 18 acre from spur pruning to replacement cane, as I believed it would benefit the vines.
What is the best piece of vineyard machinery you have invested in / what modern technology could you not live without?
Probably the weather station which is invaluable in the spring for frost watch.
What is your favourite job of the day?
My best job, when I get the chance, is walking the vineyard in the summer.
What is your worst job of the day?
My worst job is dealing with correspondence and paperwork.
Who would you invite to a dinner party, dead or alive?
I think I would like to invite Freddie Mercury, I love Queen’s music and never got the chance to see them live.
What wine would you take to that dinner party?
I would take Bolney Wine Estate Cuvée Rosé.
Finish this sentence: In ten years’ time…
…I would love to be doing a similar job as I am currently doing but perhaps part time!