I’m a ‘glass half full’ kinda girl (contents being Ashling Park of course) so I’m not going to dwell on the woes of 2020. I’m digging deep for positives and sticking two fingers up to Covid.
Looking Back at our Best BitsLet’s start with our fantastic Zoom interview with the great man, not Santa but Oz Clarke. The sun shone and the WIFI obliged so we chatted and tasted the wines remotely, slap bang in the middle of the vineyard. Off camera Oz mentioned they may not be able to do the Wine GB Competition. Due to the Covid complications and restrictions of the judges all in a room together tasting 250 wines. ‘Oh do it here in the old hangar’ I said in a throw away comment. Geez, to my delight they took me up on the offer. Wine GB and wine royalty arrived, Oz Clarke, Susie Barrie and Rebecca Palmer. Again the sun shone, we opened the front of the hangar to give them the shade and fresh air that allowed the competition to commence.
OK the world went mad but at least the weather gods were on our side. Our vines woke up to the sunniest spring on record. The sun continued to shine on us during the flowering period and that’s super important. The rest of the lovely, long summer meant the vines had oodles of sun resulting in fabulous sweet grapes. With higher alcohol content and the highest sugar levels we have ever had. It seemed the perfect time to make our first still Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. They should be on our shelves in time for Summer 2021.
The gobsmacking moment of the year for me was when the UK’s most prestigious wine competition, Wine GB, awarded us not one, not two but three of its top wine trophies. Declaring us the best wines produced on British soil. We swept the board winning Best Classic Cuvée NV, Best Sparkling Rosé and Best Wine in the South East.
The press have loved it too. The most respected wine critic and journalist in the world Jancis Robinson wrote about us in the FT. The BBC’s Good Food magazine championed us as one of their top 10 wines to give. Let’s not forget our very fave Oz Clarke, who said in an interview…
“The wine is bursting with personality – managing to be both creamy and saline, and toasty as a croissant smeared with lemon curd. I’d put this up against the leading Champagne brands any day”
As corporate hospitality will be playing a major role in our big overall plans, we decided to squeeze in a few little events while we were allowed. We invited a bunch of like minded local businesses to mingle and network safely outside. We rolled out our Airstream bar to the vineyard and the Chichester Collective and their merry members came along to what proved to be a fantastic evening. Some tried their hands or should I say legs at a spin class. While others chose to explore the Taco van and sip our glorious wines while the sun went down. Who needs Ibiza.
When it comes to thank you’s, Dad please step up to the podium for BEST DAD EVER award, I couldn’t do it without you. Your soundboarding, advice and guidance are invaluable, even if I don’t admit it.
I’ll finish my round-up of 2020 with a huge thank you to you, our customers. 2020 perhaps became more about ‘buying local’ and you guys really have been absolute stars. The growing support for us has been great especially as the on-trade (bars and restaurants) dried up over night, so we really have appreciated it. In fact the whole English wine industry have been grateful for this kind of support. We hope this has given the public a taste for English wine that continues to grow, especially as we approach Brexit. To support the industry further why not visit us this summer and the many wine trails popping up around the South of England. To register on our wait list to book our lodges click here. Let’s start a ‘stay cation’ revolution for 2021. Wishing a big Happy New Year to the people who love us, and the ones yet to taste us – see you on the vineyard.