Vineyard and Wines

History

The original vineyard was planted in 1989.  This site was chosen for the planting of the vineyard as it is on a north – south facing slope, which helps to maximise the light levels that reach the vines.  Over a 2 acre site, we planted 20 rows of the grape variety Bacchus and 10 rows of Reichensteiner.  Both varieties are very suited to the climate in England, ripen well and are reasonably resistant to rot. From these varieties we historically made two different styles of still white wine and a sparkling Bacchus wine.  As we do not have our own winemaking facility we use the winemaking services at New Hall Vineyards in Purleigh, Essex.

The vineyard today

In 2014 we removed the Reichensteiner vines as over the years they had not been producing a viable amount of crop.  We are cultivating this area and will be re-planting with Pinot Noir vines.

Our old Bacchus vines are producing a fantastic quality crop.  From these grapes we make either one or two styles of white wine each year, depending on the size of the crop.

In 2015 we planted 750 Pinot noir vines and in 2016 we planted 300 Seyval blanc vines and 200 Pinot meunier vines.  The vines were all hand planted and are guarded with plastic tubes to protect them from rabbits.  These tubes will be removed in a few years when the vine trunks are established.  We have used a metal trellis system (posts and wires) in contrast to the old vineyard with its wooden posts.  The metal posts are more durable.  The wires that stretch between the posts can be moved up and down which is a big advantage over the old trellis system when it comes to holding the growing foliage in place.

The Pinot noir will be used to make a Rosė wine and we will also blend all three varieties together to make a sparkling wine.

Organic viticulture

Since 2017 we have been managing the vineyard organically.  This means we won’t be using any chemical fertilisers, herbicides (weed-killers), systemic fungicides or insecticides.  We will rely on labour intensive work in the vineyard to ensure the vine canopy (all the shoots and leaves) is kept open, allowing good airflow through, reducing the conditions for fungal diseases to develop.

We will keep the soils healthy and fertile using composts rather than chemical fertilisers. To control the weeds underneath the vines we have a machine that fits onto the side of the tractor, avoiding the use of herbicides.

Work on the Vineyard

Work on the vineyard takes place year round.

Winter – Vines are dormant.  We prune all the vines by hand.  The only permanent part of the vines is the trunk.  Each year two canes are chosen from the vine to remain and the rest are cut off.

Spring – The canes left on the vines at pruning time are tied onto the wires. Bud burst is usually at the start of May. This is when the buds break and green leaves start to show.  Growth increases dramatically through June and we keep on top of the weeding, mowing, disease monitoring, and tucking the shoots into the wires to avoid damage to them.

Summer – Flowering takes place mid-June.  The flowers are self-pollinated and once this happens the grape clusters start to develop.  At this point we strip away the leaves around the clusters and have to trim along the tops of the vines and down the sides.  Weeding, mowing, tucking in all continue through summer.  In August the grapes start to ripen.

Autumn – As the grapes ripen we start to test their sugar and acid levels to determine when to harvest.  The grapes are very susceptible to damage from wasps/badgers/birds at this point!  We usually harvest at the end of September all by hand.  The grapes then go straight down to our winemaker New Hall Vineyards and are pressed and put into a tank for the fermentation process to begin.

The Wines

Bardfield Bacchus 2015

£13 per bottle – £71.50 for a six case bottle

Bardfield Bacchus 2016

£13 per bottle – £71.50 for a six case bottle

Bardfield Bacchus 2017

£13 per bottle – £71.50 for a six case bottle

Anne of Cleves 2016

£12.00 per bottle – £66.00 for a six bottle case

Anne of Cleves 2017

£12.00 per bottle – £66.00 for a six bottle case

Pinot Noir Rosé 

£12.00 per bottle – £66.00 for a six bottle case

Sparkling white

£22.00 per bottle – £121 for a six bottle case