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Grape pickers needed at vineyard

Created on 13/09/2017 @ 19:18
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Kerry Vale Vineyard is looking for volunteers next week to help pick what owners Geoff and June Ferguson say will be a high quality crop.

The fine weather has led to good growing conditions for British vineyards and the six-year-old vineyard, located just a mile south of Churchstoke, is optimistic about its harvest and expects to pull around 10 tons of grapes from their 6,000 vines, the same as last year.

“It's an incredibly busy but exciting time at Kerry Vale at the moment,” said Geoff.

Kerry Vale Vineyard has three grape varieties - Rondo, Phoenix and Solaris and each ripens at different times which means the workload can be spread over a number of days or weeks.

At this time of year, Geoff continuously monitors the sugar/acidity levels in the grapes to ensure they are picked at just the right time. The most important criterion determining harvesting is the acid level in the grapes. Too high and the wine is sharp to the taste, too low and it is flat and uninteresting.

 Kerry Vale Vineyard likes the sugar content to be as high as possible, requiring a good amount of sun, which is sometimes difficult to attain in our unpredictable climate.

“Due to the variation in the seasons, harvest time varies from year to year,” explained Geoff. “This year, we will start harvesting on September 18/19. We will pick again on September 25/26, as the different varieties ripen.”

Volunteers are essential at this time of year to bring in the vintage at this small, family run vineyard. The work is hard but satisfying for those who enjoy the outdoors.

“There’s nothing nicer than working at the vineyard on a sunny day,” added June. “If you have an interest in wine and wine making, what better way to understand how the process begins than on the vineyard where the grapes are grown.”

Volunteers will hand pick the grapes, cut them off the vines in whole bunches, then they will be put in trays which will be transported to the winery. 

Volunteer pickers will be asked to start from 8am with a 10.30am coffee, biscuits and cake break to keep the pickers going until 1pm when they are rewarded with a hearty lunch and a glass of award winning wine.

Those enthusiastic volunteers who wish to pick for the remainder of the day are welcome to do so and will have tea and cake at 4pm.

Anyone wishing to get involved should call: 01588 620627 or email

PICTURE: Grape pickers busy at Kerry Vale Vineyard.

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