Wine, weather and allotments

Wine, weather and allotments

When you sit down to a nice glass of Chardonnay, Rioja, Prosecco or other wine, do you ever wonder what it would be like to enjoy your own vintage? Ask Tony Fernandes: he does it all the time.

Tony is a plot-holder at Lawrence Street who not only grows fruit and veg, but manages a three-plot vineyard growing a variety of grapes which he turns into delicious wine that, in blind tastings, fools friends and family into thinking he spent a fortune at the off-licence.

In a talk on viniculture and tasting of white and rose sparkling wines, Tony explained that he normally makes sparkling, rather than still, wines because he doesn’t usually have enough of one grape variety to make a Sauvignon, for example, or Pinot Noir.

“Most still wine is made out of one variety of grape or, at most, two,” he says. “If you blend grapes, it is better to make a sparkling variety – and the last few years, I’ve not had a very good yield, so could not keep the grapes separate.”

This year could change things, though, as Tony proudly showed us the huge number of bunches of grapes hanging off his vines. Why the change in fortune? Well, anyone who grows things knows there are good years and bad, but Tony has another theory. He has not mown the grass in the vineyard this year, because he believes the long grass is keeping moisture in the ground, and therefore helping to nourish the grapes.

As attendees tucked into bread and cheese, grapes (of course!) and home-made cake, as well as samples of Tony’s wine, we could all only wish him well for this year’s harvest. If our sample is anything to go by, he’s in for a delicious future!