As the daughter of vineyard owner Nick Wenman, Lucy has been involved in the award-winning, Shere-based vineyard since its beginnings more than a decade ago.
The business, which sits in the folds of the Surry Hills on the celebrated Albury Estate, produces a number of the county’s most popular wines, including the Blanc de Noirs 2018 which has recently won two awards, scooping gold in both the Decanter 2022 and the Independent English Wine Awards 2022.
And as summer unfolds into autumn, the team is gearing up for the harvest – one it hopes will see a return to bumper yields following the washout of 2021.
“This is a very busy time for us,” says Lucy. “Summer was pretty hectic too, but the harvest is always the focus and after last year’s disappointment, we are very confident that this year will be better.”
Last year a soggy and spring and summer left the grapes blighted by mould and mildew and as an organic producer, Albury cannot relay on chemicals or pesticides to ensure the safety of its crops.
“Sadly there was not much wine made – I think we were down to a couple of thousand bottles when we are usually aiming for around 20,000-25,000. But this has been a great summer and the crop is looking very healthy, so we are quietly confident.”
Harvesting the grapes is, as you can imagine, a pretty big task and its all hands to the pump. The vineyard also relies of groups of volunteers who are invited over several key dates to get picking. While there, pickers can learn about English wine and what makes the Surrey soil so good for growing.
“English wines are some of the best around,” says Lucy, “and Surrey’ definitely produces the best. The soils and climate play their part as they allow producers to grow grapes using the Champagne method. Our local wines must really be tried. They can compete at the very highest level.”
As well as the Blanc de Noirs, Albury Organic Vineyard also produces a Classic Cuvee, a Blancs de Blancs, a Sparkling Pinot Noir and a rose. It success has led it to open a second eight-acre vineyard adjacent to the existing one. But that is not the only development in the pipeline as Lucy explains.
“Next year we are opening a Wildlife Walk which is a new type of visitor experience. We currently run vineyard tours, but this will be much more family oriented and will promote our commitment to sustainability.
“We hope it will be educational and engaging – there will be a pond, bug hotels and lots for people to do around nature. It’s a very exciting project. We have made a start and my daughter and nieces, who have had a sneak preview – seem to approve.
To find out more about joining this year’s harvest or the products on offer, visit: alburyvineyard.com or to read more about this fascinating family business click here