There are currently over 500 vineyards in the UK and many of these producers have gone on to become internationally recognised. Each year, English Wine Week celebrates and raises awareness of these producers…
There are some excellent examples of wine producers here in the South West, one of which is Knightor Winery, who are located above St Austell Bay, just next to the Eden Project. Not only do they produce exceptional wines, they also have a stunning wedding and events venue and hold regular feast nights, which combine the finest local produce and their award-winning wines.
English Wine Week runs between 25th May and 2nd June this year, and we thought it would be the perfect opportunity to catch up with Knightor’s winemaker to learn more about their award-winning wines:
How many varieties of still wine do you produce at Knightor?
12 currently in the range.
How do you decide which varietals of grape to grow?
What grows well in similar climates, what is recommended by others and what style of wine we aim to produce.
Are there any challenges to making still wines in the UK?
Still wines are a challenge as typically our grapes are high in acidity. The right variety selection makes all the difference as does harvesting as late as you dare. There are other practices that can help in the winery such as malolactic fermentation to reduce the acidity and there are other techniques to increase the body such as barrel fermentation or ageing .
How much land do you currently have under vine?
5 hectares (in Seaton, Cornwall and Portscatho)
Has warmer weather had an impact on winemaking over the last few years?
It has been very changeable going from one extreme to another rather than consistently warmer.
What precautions can you take against unpredictable English weather?
We have multiple vineyard sites, shelter them with windbreaks, stringent checks for disease [mildew, botrytis] in the vineyard. Well maintained vines.
Is there anything they do in the winery that makes your still wines different from other English producers?
Im not sure about different as essentially the process is the same everywhere, but we do try our best to harness and preserve the natural aromas and flavours found in the grapes by very gentle pressing, cool fermentation and minimal intervention in the winery.
What is vermouth and why did Knightor decide to start making it?
Vermouth is essentially an aromatised fortified wine. The idea of making Vermouth came from the owner who has Italian heritage he is always keen to try new ideas and experiment.