UK university vineyard declares bumper crop

The Royal Agricultural University’s vineyard has announced its biggest and best harvest since it was planted in 2010.

Located in the Cotswolds at Down Ampney near Cirencester, the 2.6 hectare plot is planted with Ortega, Seyval Blanc, Bacchus and Chardonnay and will produce in the region of 15,000 bottles this year.

The vineyard is used to teach students taking food production, business and agriculture courses and they also take part in the cultivation of the vineyard and the picking.

The wine is vinified in a winery in Shepton Mallet in Somerset by alumnus Steve Brooksbank.

Usually the wine is sold on campus and has a limited retail presence through distributor Craft Drinks Co. The size of this year’s crop however means it will be distributed more widely next year.

Susan McCraith MW, a former lecturer at the university and who helps oversee the project, commented: “Conditions for viticulture have been ideal this year. The lack of a late spring frost with warm dry weather for the flowering helped to set a large number of grapes which then basked in the summer weather until perfectly ripe. I’m excited to see the quality of the wine once it has finished fermenting – it should be very good indeed.”

Vineyards across the UK have been fizzing with excitement at the quality of the 2018 crop, with the UK having enjoyed a hot dry summer.

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