English vine yields

I was invited to give a presentation at the end of today’s South East Vineyard Association AGM. This was on the back of some work I’ve been doing with Plumpton College to analyse the college’s vineyard yields. The data is better than might be expected: harvest weights going back up to 10 years on 50 blocks of vines. Of course with new plantings, old grubbings-up and the maturing and aging of various vines the analysis as not been straight forward. I think the results of the analysis are interesting nonetheless, and I think the model I dreamt up to inspect through the data is quite effective: simple but powerful.

Long Man of Wilmington, near English Wine Centre where today’s SEVA AGM was held

So why was I presenting today? Well ostensibly to tell commercial growers about some interesting stuff Plumpton is thinking about, but really the hope is that I might be able to do some similar analysis for other growers, in return for them giving Plumpton some data, in extreme confidence, with which to build up a body of industry data. The idea then would be that people who contribute data might be allowed to see aggregate and average industry figures in return. I’ve not thought through those details properly, and in fact if the ball starts to roll and I start to get interested parties then it’s my intention to reach out to other regions to get advice on how to proceed with regard to the best model (yield model, and organisation model). It’s a long shot, but I’m very interested in the project and I think it could give the industry a lot of value. I’m told that it may fall flat on concerns from growers of commercial confidentiality, but let’s see. I feel that if I can get a little momentum (IF IF IF!) then there may be some hope. Many thanks to Chris Foss, who runs the faculty at Plumpton College and is also the SEVA chairman, for having giving me the chance to present today.

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