English wine producers are looking forward to an excellent year thanks to a perfect Indian summer.

A warm, dry and sunny September – dubbed an ‘Indian summer’ – has dried the vines and fattened the grapes in vineyards all over England and Wales.

Producers had all but given up on a decent harvest after a sodden May and June and a damp July, the Independent newspaper reports.

‘The weather has been fantastic for us, Christopher White, managing director of Britain’s biggest vineyard, Denbies Estate in Dorking, said. ‘It’s one of the best Septembers we have ever had.’

White said the harvest would begin towards the end of October, and – depending on the good weather continuing – ‘it should be one of the best crops ever.’

Other English producers tell the same story. Christopher Ann at the English Wine Centre at Alfriston in Sussex said the weather earlier in the year set a lot of vineyards back.

‘A lot suffered rain damage during the flowering, but the Indian summer has allowed people to get back on course.’

This year about two million bottles will be produced – not only of the traditional German varieties Huxelrebe, Reichensteiner and Muller-Thurgau, but also of Pinot Noir and some Chardonnnay. The last two are more viable than they were 10 years ago, due, some winemakers believe, to global warming.

Written by Adam Lechmere7 October 2002