It's all go in the vineyards of Shropshire as a combination of warm, then wet weather has seen the whole county start to green up in an eruption of new life.
I've been helping out with tours and tasting at Hencote over recent weeks and it's been noticeable from weekend to weekend how much the vines have progressed in a relatively short time. I swear you can almost hear them breathing.
Hencote have just launched their new Vivienne estate white, which is a blend of 83% Solaris and 17% Chardonnay. It's a little more alcohol heavy than Hencote's usual offerings, coming in at 12.5% ABV, and it's definitely going down well in the tastings.
Congrats to Hencote, too, on the IWC Silver Medal for their 2019 Evolution Sparkling, which leads the wines available in the tastings and gets the the sessions underway in a light and bubbly fashion.
I'm really enjoying meeting people on the tours. Most are there for a good time and happy to be informed and entertained. Surprising where they come from, too. In recent weeks we've had groups from as far away as Essex and Yorkshire.
I know from my sister-in-law, Sam, and her wife Suzy, who went to Kerry Vale for a birthday treat on Sunday, that Russ and Jan Cooke provide a really informative tour and tasting, too. I was interested to compare presentations between the two venues. Sam and Suzy really enjoyed their visit - especially the cheeseboard which made them a little late for lunch in Ludlow - and they even saw the Rondo vine my wife, Cal and I sponsored a while back. I haven't seen it yet, so we'll have to head back soon.
Rob and Laura Windsor have just launched their tour season at Colemere. I was hoping to pay them a visit sometime soon, too and I wish them well. Of course, the Haywoods are in full flow at Astley, too.
No update would be complete, however, without a word or two about the vin-twins, the fabulous Evans sisters Mel and Zoe, who continue to innovate at Rowton. They held their first in-vineyard event on Sunday. I was hoping to be there but family took precedence on this occasion. The twins have recently launched their 2021 Solaris, which I'm also hoping to try soon.
Roy Williams is a former journalist, systems editor and has his name in small letters as the editor of a book about big data. You can see where the wine comes in...