Wine growers toasting the weather

WHILE many have complained about the poor summer, there has been some consolation for the region's wine producers.Despite a disappointing August, dry spells in June and July - the crucial flowering season for vineyards - meant there is still a good crop this year, according to the Shawsgate Vineyard at Framlingham.

WHILE many have complained about the poor summer, there has been some consolation for the region's wine producers.

Despite a disappointing August, dry spells in June and July - the crucial flowering season for vineyards - meant there is still a good crop this year, according to the Shawsgate Vineyard at Framlingham.

Tom Jarrett, from Shawsgate, said: “This year we would maybe have been expecting a slightly bad year after two good years but it has been a fortunate year.”

The vineyard enjoyed its best ever year in 2003, which produced its first vintage, and off the back of that there was another good crop in 2004. And thanks to the weather, that should continue this year.

Mr Jarrett said the key period was early July but fortunately there had been little rain and wind to knock the flowers off the vines.

He said the flowering season traditionally coincides with the Wimbledon tennis championships fortnight.

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“It coincided with one of the driest Wimbledons this year,” he added.

The September sunshine is continuing to help, and they will plan to harvest in October.

Mr Jarrett said interest in English wine was on the increase, and they had enjoyed their best ever sales at the “vineyard gate” this year.

“I think more people are trying it. It was always a joke before because a lot of people had never tried it. People are now becoming more interested and the vineyards are playing their part,” he said.

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