1945 – a good year for English Wines
I was intrigued when I came across a picture on the internet of a book entitled “Wine Growing in England” by George Ordish, published in 1953. I was excited when I realised it was for sale and now that I have the book in my hands, I am absolutely charmed.
I haven’t yet had time to read it in full, but couldn’t resist sharing a few quotes…
George Ordish tells us that “This is a thoroughly scientific and at the same time perfectly lucid handbook on what is now almost a forgotten art in this country. The author considers the history of wine-growing in England and the possibilities of English vineyards.”
In the preface he notes that: “When I was young I used to work as an entomologist in France. I was much struck by the fact that the small farmer always made his own wine, quite easily… When I came to live in Kent I found the climate not unlike Champagne, and when in Sir Henry Ellis’s work on the Domesday Book I found we had at least thirty-eight vineyards at the Conquest I immediately planted some vines.”
How quaint and mildly interesting that someone made a few bottles of wine back then, we might think. Well actually, our hero (for that is what George is rapidly becoming in my eyes) did rather better than that. “My own wines from good years, such as 1945 and 1947, have been commented upon very favourably by connoisseurs and have won commendation in a B.B.C. programme.”
I just can’t wait to read the whole book and hear George Ordish’s thoughts in full on the “great many reasons for drinking wine”, what he thought were “the right varieties” and perhaps most interestingly, his considerations of “the possibilities of commercial production in Britain.”
Until then, a huge thank you to Catherine of The Hanky Heiress, a delightful shop of treasures from yesteryear, for finding the book in the first place and a final quote from George: “Wine is a pleasant thing, and wine one has made oneself is yet pleasanter.” I hope that George wouldn’t mind us extending that compliment to wine made close to home.
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