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Spring in the vineyards is here at Flint has been unusual. 40% more rain than last year and an early warm spell means the vines have had a great start. The recent chill in the air has, however, slowed them down, and all the wet weather means downy mildew is a threat.

Now, as we roll into summer (hooray!),the question I’m always asked is: Are we ahead of last year? Will it be a better/worse vintage? (Let’s park the arguments over definitions of better or worse for now!)

One thing for sure is that we have a lot of fruit potential. The majority of shoots have two bunches and some have three. So if we have a dry flowering (next couple of weeks) with some gentle breezes there could be high yields in 2024.

And although it might not feel like it, we’re also doing comparatively well in terms of heat. We think about this in terms of Growing Degree Days, which are a measure of the total number of days where average temperatures are above 10 °C during the growing season. Different grape varieties need different amounts of GDDs for each stage of their growth and for ripening. We’ve been ahead of the last two years so far - at times by two weeks, but we’re now on a par with 2022. We’ll see if the trajectories stay the same!

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