Welcome to Blue Aurora
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Filtering and bottling
All the blueberries grown at Lutton Farm are planted in substrate material in pots. This provides the plants with the perfect conditions: light, free-draining, acidic and with plenty of rich organic matter. As part of our substrate, we use coir which is a recycled material made from coconut husk.
We currently have 15 different varieties grown on the farm. This is changing all the time as new varieties come to market. All varieties are carefully selected to offer the best in flavour and performance.
Every blueberry bush is treated with absolute care and is provided with all the nutrients and water it requires. As a result we are picking fruit from bushes which are 2 years old, and right up to 14 years old. We use trickle irrigation to water and feed the bushes and this goes directly into the substrate. On a hot day a single plant can need up to 7 litres of water!
We use beneficial insects to protect our crops and this also helps to reduce the requirement for chemical pesticides.
Between February and March the team on the farm are busy pruning the blueberry bushes which means taking out any dead or diseased wood and removing old branches to make way for younger, more productive branches. This helps to maintain plant vigour and produce excellent quality berries.
In April the bushes will start to produce gorgeous white blossom which once pollinated is where the green fruit starts to develop. Several weeks later, as the fruit begins to mature, it will start turning into that recognisable dark blue berry. This is when the berry is ready to be picked.
Harvest starts in early June and carries on until mid-October.
All the berries are carefully handpicked by our team of skilled pickers.
For the ice wine the frozen berries are loaded directly into the press and are pressed hard. The bullet-like berries take some pressing, but with higher pressure, the flavour, colour and sweetness comes out, but leaves water behind as ice in the berry. Imagine the analogy of a lollipop, where the juice is sucked out and the water is left behind as ice. The press program takes between 2 ½ to 3 days, releasing more juice as the berries start to defrost. Each 37.5cl bottle of ice wine requires around 2kg of frozen blueberries to be pressed.
For the dusk and midnight wine, the fresh berries are loaded into a large hopper and are gently crushed as they are pumped through to the press. The bag within the press inflates and starts the pressing process. The process is much quicker than the ice wine; taking roughly 2 hours. Each 75cl bottle of either of these wines require 1.5kg of fresh blueberries to be pressed.
The juice is moved into stainless steel tanks and allowed to settle. 24 hours later the yeast is added to start the fermentation process. The yeast begins converting the natural sugars from the fruit into carbon dioxide, heat and alcohol.
The midnight wine has an additional process which is very similar to a traditional red wine. The juice sits on the blueberry skins in the tank for 6 weeks to give the wonderful deep dark colour. This wine also has oak added to give the wonderful soft smoky vanilla notes.
Prior to filtering the wine is allowed to mature for around 3 months. The wine then goes through a number of different filters to help stabilise the colour and improve the clarity of the wine. The wine is then bottled, sealed, cleaned and finally our beautiful Blue Aurora labels are applied.
Sustainability is at the heart of everything we do, from our farming principles, to where the idea of Blue Aurora first began; reducing food waste! In fact in 2019 we saved 28 tonnes of blueberries from going to waste!
As commercial fruit growers we are acutely aware of the pressure farming can have on the environment. Therefore it is vital that we respect the land and the surrounding environment. We aim to balance our activities with the creation and protection of key conservations areas such as hedgerows, beetle banks, ponds and uncultivated land.
We also have a policy of using beneficial insects to protect our crops to reduce the requirement for chemical pesticides. We host many scientific trials to help further the battle against reliance upon chemicals and pesticides.
We also work with local beekeepers to introduce new colonies and hives of honey bees.