Figures in June show that it had rained more than 150 mm, more than twice the average amount of rain. The time between the beginning of April to June was the second cloudiest period with as few as 119.2 sunshine hours, after the “darkest” period in 1987 with 115.4 sunshine hours. It was, too the coolest period of time since 1991, with an average temperature of as few as 12.3°C.
Even though, England’s vintners do not lose courage, and some of them are even optimistic. “We have come well through the frosty season. Now the blossoming begins – and the next days will be decisive for the fruit setting”, Mardi Roberts, manager at Ridgeview’s, Sussex, comments the situation. “However, further rain can cause a range of different problems. Starting from mold and fruit-dropping when the blossoms open, this can lead to a considerably poorer yield.”
Others consider this situation far more pessimistic. Bob Lindo, for instance, from the Camel Valley company, Cornwall: “If it will not be sunny soon, the blossoming is in danger, the perspective is bad. Now we absolutely need pleasant temperatures and no more rain at all. But if the rain will continue for two more weeks, a big part of the harvest is in danger. I’m comparing the 2012 harvest year to 1993. At that time, I told my employees I would give them five £ for each grape.”
The Nick Hall sparkling wine producer from Kent is considering the ripening of the grapes as the main problem, in case the weather remains as it is. “If things go on like this, we will have to fight for the grapes to ripen because we are not planning to chaptalize. However, we have an advantage in the production of sparkling wine – the grapes do not have to be too ripe, as long as they develop fruits.”
Like Nick Hall, vintner Owen Elias from Kent considers a pessimistic point of view as too early. “I’m considering the situation as a challenge. I see our main problem in the changes between wet and warm weather because these are perfect conditions for false and real mildew as well as for botrytis. But who is able to predict as early as now what will happen during the next weeks until the beginning of the harvest.” (red.yoopress)