First harvest for Sark – the world's newest wine region

November 01, 2011 (PRLEAP.COM) Lifestyle News
SARK HAS become the world's newest wine region after its first grape harvest took place under the direction of Bordeaux winemaker Dr Alain Raynaud.

An island in the English Channel, Sark is just three miles by one mile in size. It is located 8 miles from Guernsey and around 20 miles from the north coast of France [Normandy].

Much of its food produce comes from its land and surrounding waters of the English Channel. But in 2010, Dr Raynaud and his team analysed Sark's soil and it became apparent that quality wines could also be made.

Around 100,000 vines have been planted in Sark's vineyards covering just 2% of its total land area. Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Savagnin are the main varietals planted across 11 hectares, along with small parcels of Pinot Noir, Gamay and Albariño. The soil on Sark varies between gravel, sand, granite and schist.

At the end of October, around 30,000 vines were picked by hand in Sark's first harvest and it is expected that the very first wine will be a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Savagnin. A new label and name for Sark's first wines are also in planning stages.

Dr Raynaud, a respected personality in Bordeaux wine circles, said: "We had a warm summer on Sark so the grapes were able to evolve well and produce quality fruit. Sark's first grapes are showing us a good balance between acidity and sugar. We are now beginning our journey to make an excellent quality sparkling wine for Sark, using the Champagne method of production."

Sark's wine regions are Rondellerie, Beauregard and Jaspellerie where a state-of-the-art winemaking facility has been established by Sark Estate Management it has made around £1million investment in Sark's vineyards to date.

evin Delaney, managing director of Sark Estate Management, said: "Over the past 18 months, Alain and his team have undertaken extensive analysis of the soil types here on Sark and have planted the varieties of grapes that will best thrive here.

"We will put Sark on the world wine map for producing first class sparkling wines and still white wines. This, our first harvest, takes us a step closer towards achieving our objectives."

Raynaud and his team include French winemaker Etienne Longuechaud and vineyard specialist David Pernet. Sparkling wine will be produced in the traditional method used in Champagne and by experienced Champagne winemaker Mark Quertenier.

With no cars, no streetlights and new sustainable initiatives underway on the island, Sark Estate Management's harvests promise to be among some of the most eco-friendliest in the world. Horse and carts will in future supply Sark Estate Management's hotels and restaurants with fresh produce and will also be used during future harvests.

Watch Sark's first harvest video report here:
www.vimeo.com/31176438

Notes to editors
1. Sark is situated in the English Channel, around 8 miles from Guernsey and 20 miles from the north coast of France.
2. The island's new vineyard areas have potential to produce around 100hl of wine.
3. Dr Alain Raynaud is a former physician and president of the Union des Grands Crus in Bordeaux. He is best known for producing Quinault L'Enclos a Bordeaux wine counted among the Right Bank's "supercuvées".
4. Raynaud is also the former owner of the Pomerol estates Château La Croix-de-Gay and Château La Fleur-de-Gay.
5. Sark's history dates back to 1565 when Helier de Carteret was granted permission by Elizabeth I to colonise the island its population today is around 600 people.
6. Jancis Robinson MW's story about Sark's first harvest: http://www.jancisrobinson.com/articles/a201110315.html

Contact and images
High resolution images of Sark's first harvest are available immediately.

Sark Estate Management's media contact is Bernadette Costello who can be reached on +44 (0)1481 832036 or by email: bernadette@costellomedia.co.uk