You maybe have expected the winery has been closed during this 'lockdown'. That we have put our pipettes, hoses and glasses down and will come back once it’s all returned to normal. Certainly, all the restaurants and bars that serve our wines, from Nathan Outlaws on the North coast in Doc Martin country to Wreckers and The Longstore in Charlestown near us are closed, as well as having to shutter our cellar door to visitors.
With trade orders disappearing, our wedding venue closed and most of the team on furlough we have been running on a staff of very few, mainly myself, the winemaker here at Knightor. It may appear at times the winery is closed but we are still at work, even during this time of lockdown. For us, nothing stops after harvest. Not even for a lockdown.
The vines must continue to be cared for, our wine making has to continue as normal as possible to ensure we don’t end up with most of our produce spoil in tank and so that we have keep up with demand on the phenomenal response we have had to online sales.
This is the time of the year when the winery is usually so full of life and activity. We would be pressing for all hours of the day, pumping the settled [clear] juice from one tank to the next, fermenting the juice. None of that has stopped, it is just perhaps happening a little slower.
For each wine we have to consider how it would be best to treat or 'age' going forward.
At Knightor we have 37 batches that are sitting maturing or 'ageing' before being bottled. Ageing allows us to capture and bottle the best of each of our wines at their optimum.
From October onwards we have wines that have just finished fermenting that must be racked [pumped] off the heavy yeast sediment [gross lees]. The time to do that is now.
At this stage all of the wines are cloudy, lively, youthful, even aggressive with a fair spritz or sparkle from the left over carbon dioxide dissolved in the wine during the ferment. They are often not really very drinkable. Many of the techniques we use to mature the wines are aimed at softening and rounding out the wines. The 3 techniques we most commonly use to help mature our wines are Lees ageing, oak contact and Malolactic fermentation.
After fermentation, all of our wines stay on contact with the dead yeast sediment or 'fine lees' as it is known. Some will stay on lees for just 4 months, others for a year or more, as very gradually this sediment starts to impact on the wine providing more weight, softness and mouthfeel. We can also help this process along by stirring the sediment up and into the wine every week or so. Bearing in mind that English wines can have a tendency for being light, a little lees contact can be beneficial.
We are fortunate at Knightor to have a decent number of oak barrels. Not only do we ferment wines in these but we can also age our wines in them. The result of ageing in oak has similarities again to Lees ageing, an increase in mouth feel, texture. Dependent on the age of the barrel and the type of oak, an increase in aromas and flavours associated with the oak, such as vanilla, spice, chocolate and coffee is achieved.
At Knightor we strive to make wines that are a reflection of the fruit, so oak is used much like you would salt and pepper, just gentle seasoning adding to the existing flavours, not dominating.
So we have stayed busy. We have been emptying the barrels of many of the white wines that have been ageing in them since fermentation and refilling them with some of our red wines. Excitingly we have also been bottling some 2019 wines!
The past few weeks, with a slimmed down bottling crew, we have bottled our Mena Hweg 2019 [our semi sweet wine] plus a Trevannion 2019 [our popular intensely aromatic blend], all whilst keeping to the 2 meter social distancing rules. Due to this, bottling speed wasn't quite what it usually is but we found a way.
The Mena hweg from 2019 is wonderfully floral, perhaps a little more edgy than the previous Menas and is extremely drinkable and versatile with food.
The Trevannion I hesitate to say could be our most delicous yet of this blend. This year, as previous, it is dominated by the aromatic pink skinned grape varieties of Siegerrebe and Schonberger which seemed to do very well despite the challenging 2019 ripening period.
Both of these wines have now been released but once again, thanks to coronavirus, in a slightly different way. As we are unable to get our labels from our printers at this time, and not wanting to hold back on release, you can purchase a bottle of our Mena Hweg 2019 and Trevannion 2019 in handwritten bottles, accompanied by a winemakers note. We love how they look and are very pleased to have them available to you at last.
And a final note from us all at Knightor, to thank you for your continued drinking during this challenging time!
Many of you are being faced with a lot of uncertainty around the current situation and trying to stay positive even though the effects of the coronavirus have caused changes to your wedding day. We know a lot of you have already been faced with having to postpone your wedding day with others on hold whilst they wait to hear more.
It’s understandable you may feel a sense of sadness around your postponed wedding date as it approaches. But with much being shared by the industry on how to take the time to acknowledge this date as it arrives, you can still make it special and memorable, be it a lovely dinner together or opening your favourite bottle of wine. Some couples are going that little further and over the last few weeks we have seen some of the most cheerful, happy stories that have truly lifted our spirits. Stories of how our lovely couples have made the most of their ‘would have been’ wedding date.
Becca and Will:
Becca and Will were due to get married on Saturday 28th March 2020. With only two weeks to go until their big day the restriction tightened and wedding venues were to close. Although they were heartbroken we worked with them to get a new date booked in for the beginning of 2021. It was the highlight of a very busy week when we received these photos from Becca and Will celebrating a date that will always be special to them.
With the help of some of their wedding day decorations, Becca and Will did not let the current situation get in the way of their mini wedding day for two. The day started in the garden by sharing some special moments whilst they exchanged written vows to each other. Our favourite part included cutting their Colin the caterpillar wedding cake! The day ended with a chinese takeaway over candle light on their very own ‘top table’ complete with table name. It couldn’t be a celebration without a little fizz, so of course, a bottle of Knightor’s very own Classic Cuvee Sparkling Wine to toast to the continued celebrations to come. Here’s to March 2021!
Sarah and Oliver:
Sarah and Oliver were looking forward to their Spring wedding on Thursday 9th April 2020. With two young children, family played a huge part in celebrating their special day. With their new date now rebooked for Spring 2021 the family wanted to do something extra special to mark their ‘would have been’ wedding date so that it could be remembered as a happy day.
Sarah and Oliver were blessed with gorgeous weather which meant outdoor celebrations were a must! A little DIY decoration created a beautiful floral set up for their postponement ceremony in the garden. With their parents living close they set up benches on the road so they too could be there to share this memorable day. A virtual guestlist meant they were able to get their nearest and dearest in on the day from the comfort of their own homes. Their guests pulled out all the stops and even dressed to impress! The children both wrote their own speeches whilst mum and dad raised a glass to love, family and friends. Although they spent their wedding day a little differently than they planned, they bought family and friends together for a day they can remember!
Now pop open that bottle of fizz and celebrate what is to come! Whatever you decide to do on your ‘would have been’ day be it postponement vows or a cooking up a fancy dinner, make it one to remember! There are even some great wedding specialists out there who have come together if you wanted to take it to the next level and work with celebrants for example, such as Get Wed Online.
You will get your dream wedding day; it has not been cancelled; it has only been postponed. It goes without saying that your family and friends will look forward to a big celebration when all this is over!
We would love to hear about how you celebrated your wedding date you had to postpone so please get in touch at email@example.com if you wish to share your special day.
Please remember our Weddings Team here at Knightor Winery are still here to answer your questions and concerns around Covid-19 and your wedding.
Stay in touch and take care!
With lockdown measures still in full force and weddings now postponed until later in the year or next year, we are finding ourselves in a place of exploring new ideas and ways of offering couples advice and help when they cannot visit us. One idea that we thought of is to create a series of podcast style videos for you, chock full with wedding advice, hints and tips while you use this time in planning your own wedding.
We want to share what we know and help make the journey a little easier for you, inspire you for your own day and who better to do this that our weddings team!
Here is our first video! Meet Jess and Cathryn two of our wedding planners who, along with Anna, if you get married at Knightor, will help you in your planning. From initial enquiry and listening to your dream plans to helping you with the small details and logistics such as how much wine to order and you're timings as well as on the day support.
With many years of experience between them, they really have seen it all and are a font of knowledge that can help you with your wedding planning.
They wanted to share some of their insights over a series of podcasts, starting with what is undoubtably the most important choice when it comes to planning your wedding (apart from choosing each other!), choosing your venue.
Whilst Cathryn will be starting with us on the 1st May, Jess is available if you would like to have a natter with her. You can contact her on firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to as her any questions or get some more advice.
We hope you enjoyed and would love your feedback on what you would like to hear from us. Do get in touch and let us know what you think! Next week we will be sharing some of our ideas for bringing more Cornwall to your wedding, wherever you are getting married!
Stories from Knightor
Wine, weddings and feasts