Cheers to a bumper summer as staff at vineyard celebrate record harvest

PUBLISHED: 08:24 05 November 2018 | UPDATED: 08:24 05 November 2018

Volunteers at Saffron Grange. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Volunteers at Saffron Grange. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

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Saffron Grange, a family-run vineyard on the outskirts of Saffron Walden, harvested more than 20 tonnes of grapes this season, as part of what the UK wine industry is calling “the harvest of the century”.

Volunteers from Saffron Walden and its surrounding villages were happy to get stuck in to help pick the grapes, with 80 people joining the Saffron Grange team over nine days.

The harvest comes as the vineyard prepares for the launch of its first range of premium quality sparkling wines in 2019.

Dan Turner, vineyard manager at Saffron Grange, said: “Many different elements all came together to produce this spectacular harvest, which is more than four times the 2017 harvest.

“Following a largely frost-free spring, July’s heatwave gave us excellent conditions during flowering and fruit set. When combined with the extended summer that followed, it meant we ended up more than doubling the predicted yield of grapes, all of which are of exceptional quality. This couldn’t have come at a better time, as we begin to realise the vineyard’s true potential.”

Saffron Grange sits on a site of 16 acres just off the Little Walden Road. Its vines are now mature and the team has invested in the very best farming machinery, expert consultants and frost protection equipment, as it seeks to build and grow its business.

Paul Edwards, owner of Saffron Grange, said: “We would like to say a huge ‘thank you’ to all of the local volunteers, friends and family who helped carefully hand pick the bunches of grapes - not only this year, but in every year since our beginnings more than 10 years ago.

“We couldn’t have done it without you. This vineyard is a real labour of love for our family and we’ve spent years perfecting our vines, terror and techniques, to achieve the exceptional quality grapes for which we hope our wines will soon become known.”

Saffron Grange is growing pinot noir, chardonnay and pinot meunier as well as seyval blanc and pinot gris with its focus on producing quality sparkling wines.

The vineyard currently has about 16 acres of planted vines with plans for significant further expansion and is hoping up to become a leading sparkling wine producer in East Anglia.

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