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Published:  23 July, 2008

By Stuart Peskett

Pinot Noir, the jewel in Burgundy's crown, will soon become the red grape of choice for every English winemaker, predicts Owen Elias. Elias, director of winemaking at the Chapel Down/Curious Grape winery in Tenterden, Kent, spoke as his team was winding up the 2003 harvest, which will come in at 2,700hl. He said: People say Pinot Noir doesn't grow, but it does, and there's going to be a lot more of it. I'm very happy with the harvest; the reds have been very good. I think they will make up about 20% of the harvest instead of the usual 10%. It's all been clean, very good quality, with high natural sugars. This is partly due to the good summer we've had, but also, because of our planting programme, we're increasing our number of reds. This is the first year we've planted 1.5-2ha of reds, and they've all come in pretty well.' Other red grapes grown at Tenterden include Rondo (it makes a good wine - a very dark colour, with nice berry fruits') and Regent (this has a touch of mint, a bit of Cabernet about it'), but Pinot remains the star, with an expected output of 140hl this year, compared to 50hl the year before. Elias added: We've had a couple of good years for red and I think everyone will be pleasantly surprised.'