Being a little part of Albury Vineyard
I’ve been to Albury Vineyard a few times now, it’s quite local and I’ve joined their Wine Club, which means you get to know the place a little better.
The annual open day and new vintage launch arrived on the first day of English Wine Week with grey skies and heavy showers. By the time we arrived though, it was looking a lot better.
Owner Nick Wenman gave us an overview of the latest happenings with the usual badinage with Alex Valsecchi who manages the vineyard. Alex is clearly enjoying her role here (she was previously at Wisley). She joked that she thinks the biodynamic processes applied at Albury possibly have an effect on people too, as she seems to be becoming a convert to the ideas Nick has been keen to employ.
There were several options of a long walk to the top of the vineyards (it’s only 5 Acres) a shorter walk, no walk, or a stroll to the adjacent Silent Pool distillery.
We opted for the long walk with Alex. It was really nice that now we’re getting to know the wines and the site (this is the 2nd year of the membership scheme), she is able to go into more detail about the trellising system, how the climate affects the site, where the frost danger spots are and about the local wildlife and how the grapes can be protected from them. The intricacies of the Double Guyot trellis system mean so much more when you know that it will ensure that the grapes are not at backbreaking height for you to pick and let the sun reach the grapes and the air circulate to make the best wine for you to drink!
We headed back down to the marquee for another glass of Silent Pool Rosé, even better than last year’s – the blend has changed slightly – with a barbecue and a glass of Albury Pinot Gris and a Pétillante Naturel from the Loire Valley.
It was really good to catch up with some other members, too. After a couple of Open Days, a harvest and a harvest supper, it really is starting to feel like a proper club and a lovely way to get just a little more involved with one’s local vineyard.
Several vineyards have membership schemes and lots welcome help with the harvest; invariably followed by a hearty meal and a glass of wine to accompany your glow of satisfaction. We’ve started to update www.WineCellarDoor.co.uk with vineyards that welcome an extra pair of hands at harvest-time and this should be all in place in good time for October – let’s keep our fingers crossed that there will be plenty of healthy grapes to harvest.
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