The vines were planted by a specialist planting team from Germany using lasers to guide the planting tractor at precise distances from the preceding row. We space the rows wide enough to allow good sun exposure. Before planting, the field had been harrowed and sub- soiled so the new vines slotted easily into the soil.
Weather is the key challenge to yield in England. It is said that for every three years, there is one bad year, one medium year and one good year. For example, 2012 (the year of the London Olympics) proved a terrible year when we lost the crop to continuous pelting rain, whilst 2015 and 2016 were average, 2017 pretty bad (due to frost) and 2014 was fantastic. So, the hurdles to overcome are mainly from God – i.e. avoiding the frost just after the vines start growing in April, rain during flowering in June/July and the need for a warm ripening period in September.