Published: 09:21, 08 October 2020
| Updated: 07:43, 09 October 2020
There may be a chill in the air now, but it's the warm spring and summer that mean it's time for the wine harvest to begin in earnest at Mereworth Wines near Maidstone.
And it's a big year for the firm, whose vineyards were planted in 2016, as this is their first full harvest.
Founder and director Will Boscawen took something of a leap of faith when he decided to turn what had been his father's farm into vineyards, leaving behind a career in finance in Hong Kong to do it.
But as he began loading his first batches of Pinot Noir grapes ready to be pressed and turned into wine during the frenetic four-day harvest period - yes, he rolls his sleeves up like everyone else for the job - he was feeling confident.
"We wait the whole year for this," he said. "This isn't about laying around on a chaise longue, thinking everything is perfect and waiting for the wine to be produced. It's hard work. But it is a big year for us.
"It takes a certain amount of time for a vine to reach maturity and the vines have done their thing and look absolutely fantastic."
"It's been an anxious year, watching and waiting for the vines to "do their thing".
"Dare I say, I have been panicking the whole time. It is like having a baby. You think at the time this is the dumbest thing I have ever done and then a year later you think 'let's do it again.'"
With wine-maker Scott Gebbie, and a very small team, plus a handful of contracted-in pickers working on the south-facing slopes of the Kent Downs, they will be producing some 30,000 bottles of wine this year.
It meant moving 10 tonnes of grapes a day from the vineyards in Wateringbury to the winery a mile away in Mereworth.
White From Black 2018 was the firm's first vintage, a traditional English white sparkling wine made from black Pinot grapes, which was released in April this year and has already received a silver award in the Wines Of Great Britain Awards.
The company also plans to launch White From White made from Chardonnay grapes later this year.