Two days in Sussex. I actually did some proper work. After a gentle first day (looking round, tasting the 2020 wines, and hanging with a good crew), I spent twelve hours processing grapes at
Tillingham, in Sussex. It was a big day: Pinot Noir arrived in the morning, and Pinot Blanc just after 5 pm. Here are some pictures.
The oast house that houses the marani (a winery with qvevri sunk into the floor)
The estate vineyard. There are 10 hectares of vines here, and this was the first (small) harvest. Most of the grapes are still purchased from elsewhere.
Tasting the 2020s. This year has been a good one. Ben Walgate is pouring for Margaux Aubry. Ruth Spivey and Alice Lacelles also in shot.
In the marani. Ben has 12 qvevri in all.
Bacchus in qvevri
After all the tasting, some Kernel table beer
The Pinot Noir has arrived. 5.5 tons, picked into small crates
Checking the ripeness: 10.5% potential alcohol
The grapes are in really good condition. It’s been a bit rainy recently, but good viticulture means no rot.
The vibrating sorting table in action
The first batch is going whole bunch into these concrete tanks, and then Pinot Blanc juice from the press is added
First Ben is adding carbon dioxide to the tank
These grapes are going whole bunch into a bin for fermentation
Another batch is destemmed into a bin
The Pinot Blanc arrives: 3.2 tons, picked into macrobins
The first batch is being pressed, and will be added to the Pinot Noir whole bunches in the concrete tanks
The second batch is being sorted and then destemmed to a bin for some skin contact
Destemmer in action
The juice from the press is a brown colour because the phenolics in the juice are being oxidised. This is a good thing in this case because it makes the wine more stable later.
At the end of a long day, it’s clean-up time