Forty Hall Vineyard is an exciting social enterprise, providing health and wellbeing benefits to the community in the London Borough of Enfield, North London
Situated in 10 acres of rural land on Forty Hall Farm, the vineyard has been awarded the title "Garden of Sanctuary" and is also certified organic. It is dedicated to demonstrating environmentally sustainable farming and vine-growing practices
A community vineyard, largely cared for by local volunteers, the vineyard is the first large scale vineyard in London since the middle ages, producing award winning English still and sparkling wines.
Since 2009, the vineyard has been thriving, and making a difference within our community, but after three years of poor harvests (due to adverse weather conditions and devastating powdery mildew with a lack of adequate resources to control it), we are now in need of vital funds to ensure the vineyard's survival and help us become a more sustainable enterprise.
This document explains who we are and how you can help us. Thank you for your time.
A taste of London
Forty Hall Vineyard is the only commercial-scale vineyard in London and we ' re committed to creating the best quality, organic English wines
Each of our single estate wines reflect the distinctive character of our organically grown grapes, that have been cared for by our dedicated volunteers, here in North London
Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir produce our award winning Sparkling London Brut which is made in the traditional method, in the same way as Champagne.
Bacchus and Ortega grapes produce our two single variety still dry white wines
When you drink Forty Hall wine, you're not just drinking the wine."
Oz Clarke - wine expert, author and broadcaster
We work with the environment and grow our grapes naturally, with as little intervention as possible, so that the wine produced from our grapes truly reflects the terroir - which means the unique characteristics of the place, the soil and its microclimate
In our vineyard, we do not use synthetic fungicides, herbicides or fertilisers This encourages biodiversity and a natural balance.
The vines grow in a living soil, free of chemical residues, drawing optimum levels of minerals from the soil, becoming stronger with better natural resistance to disease
We are actively improving the soil and biodiversity by planting cover crops between the vine rows and introducing sheep over the winter months to fertilise and keep the grass down A group of our volunteers lead a greening project and they have planted trees, sowed cover crops and wild flowers and creates more bird houses and bug hotels
Our wines are created by pioneering organic winemaker Will Davenport of Davenport Vineyards Like us, he believes that good wine begins with good grapes,
We grow the best crop we can by creating a healthy ecosystem in the vineyard where soil micro fauna and flora are respected and chemical input is minimal.
Our low intervention wines allow the natural quality of our grapes speak for themselves
Working together for a happier community
Sales of our award-winning wines are put back into the project to enable us to deliver health and well-being benefits to our local community
We deliver this through our health and well-being project, sometimes referred to as 'ecotherapy', which offers outdoor volunteering opportunities in a beautiful natural environment The vineyard has been awarded "Garden of Sanctuary” in recognition of the welcoming environment it offers to people in need
The aim of the ecotherapy project is to improve mental and physical health through working outdoors in nature, being socially connected, learning and developing new skills, engaged with horticultural activity and getting involved in the production, promotion and sale of our wines.
While our volunteers benefit, so does the vineyard's productivity, so it is a mutual exchange for the sustainability of the vineyard and the social enterprise
Volunteering sessions run every week throughout the year and are open to all members of the community, including those with mild to moderate mental health support needs No one is labelled, we all socialise and work together.
Sessions are led by a volunteer Team Leader along with the support of a Field Worker or Ecotherapist, who is available as a listening ear. Participants can work alone, in pairs, in small groups or in larger teams Whatever feels more comfortable
We also invite minority community groups in to enjoy the benefits of the vineyard Last year we hosted several community lunches and open days and tours Our visitors included a refugee Ukrainian Women's organisation and a Turkish Cypriot cultural group.
Words from our volunteers
Recovering from illness...
""I started this morning feeling a little anxious following my isolation but quickly immersed myself in my favourite task of tying down the vines. With the sun on my back, it was totally therapeutic experience It absolutely nourished my soul "
Restoring self esteem following redundancy...
‘It really helped me, definitely feel valued, that I was doing something that was useful.... [the redundancy] was all a bit of a shock and I didn’t know what I was going to do I needed to do something just to keep me going, because if I just sit at home doing nothing ..... ’
Respite from being a full time carer...
‘The vineyard is a tonic : it stops me getting bogged down with things , I just thought I need, need, need to do something for myself!’
Living with a mental health issue... ‘‘People are not judgemental – people want you to recover but they also acknowledge that’s how you are. "
During depression...‘‘It was really helpful when I was at my worst. Just working alongside (the ecotherapist), not having to explain, no referral I just needed a bit of help.. like offering me her hand.’
Fundraising for the future
Forty Hall Vineyard was a pioneer of ecotherapy and over the last twelve years has proven that being outdoors in nature, socialising and having purpose has a positive impact on mental health and wellbeing We currently have over one hundred regular volunteers, with a growing demand following the pandemic
Without urgent funding to improve our equipment and resources, there is a serious and very real risk of there being no harvest in 2023. Without wine to sell and further disease within the vines, this is likely to be the end of London's vineyard.
We have so far managed our finances well enough to sustain the project through three disappointing harvests and a pandemic, but we cannot survive another year without monetary support. We need an increase in professional supervision and essential equipment for vineyard maintenance, to support the hard work of the volunteers. This would give us the best chance of achieving a healthy yield of grapes so that we can produce more wine to provide income to sustain our project and to become sustainable.
The resources we need are listed over the page.
What our vineyard needs
Tractor - £58,225
This is essential to protect the vines, stop spread of disease and allow for good air flow for the vines to survive and thrive A vineyard tractor is narrower than standard tractors so it can fit between the rows and not damage the roots of the vines Currently the tractor we use is shared and not available when we need it and regularity breaks down
Vertical Vineyard Sprayer - £4,500
Our sprayer is not fit for purpose. It does not cover the vines adequately with the (organic) sprays that will prevent and stop the spread of disease This is one of the primary reasons why we were unable to control the spread of powdery mildew last year
Vine trimmer - £9,000
To make the vines more uniform, so airflow is good, spray covers evenly and grapes ripen at the same time
Weed suppressant sheets - £2,500
To keep the weeds down under the vines. Essential for the health of the vines.
Additional feed and sprays - £2,500
increase in our 'organic' spray program to protect and contain disease
Part time seasonal worker - £4,000
To support vineyard manager to continue with essential tasks outside of volunteer sessions and give our vines the best chance of survival
Increase in hours for Vineyard Operations Manager - £5,000
To oversee and implement management plan that will save the vineyard and secure its future sustainability
Can you help?
We need help to save London’s vineyard and continue to provide health and wellbeing opportunities for the wider community
Can you or your organisation sponsor or donate money ?
Donate now via our Local Giving page https://localgiving org/appeal/tractorfund/
Head of Operations
email@example.com www fortyhallvineyard com