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The First Vineyard To Produce Sauvignon Blanc In The UK

Good news for English wine lovers, the portfolio of varieties grown in the UK is expanding! Denbies Wine Estate, situated in Surrey, is the first English vineyard to grow Sauvignon Blanc grapes on UK soil. Following their first announcement in November 2013, the wine is currently maturing in Hungarian oak barrels and is due to be released in Autumn this year.

Denbies Sauvignon In Barrels

The grapes from Bordeaux were planted four years ago on a three acre plot and were harvested for the first time at the end of 2013.

The general manager of Denbies, Christopher White, said:

"We have been very pleased with this year’s harvest and we hope to have the Sauvignon Blanc bottled and ready to sell by next summer."
"In the last 20 years we have seen a direct benefit of changing weather conditions on the wine industry in the UK and we have been able to grow some varieties of grapes which were never possible before."
"Sauvignon Blanc is a very popular wine and it’s nice to think it can now be produced in the UK."

Denbies Sauvignon Grape Picking

Denbies harvested 1 tonne of grapes, which should fill about 1,000 bottles. For the moment, they can only pick a small amount of grapes to avoid "stressing the vine". But don’t worry if you miss it this year as they expect to harvest three times as much next year!

It was very unusual for Denbies employees to harvest the grapes as late as November last year as they usually finish by October. Thanks to a milder autumn in 2013, they were able to leave the grapes longer on the vine for optimum quality.

"It has been a very good year for the grapes, after two poor years when it was very wet and cold." said Mr White.
"We didn’t have any frost at the start of the season, and a sunny summer has meant that we have experienced favourable conditions throughout with all the early potential come to fruition."

You'll still have to wait a little bit longer to taste the wine. The grapes have been pressed and the juice is now fermenting in Hungarian oak barrels for about two months. It will then be transferred into stainless steel vats for eight months so that it can mature. Whilst we're waiting for the aging process to take place, (re)discover Denbies wine range...

by Clotilde Delebarre, 2nd May 2014

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