Vineyard April 2023

Page 8



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globe-asia twitter @VineyardMagGB facebook VineyardMagGB NEWS 8 Join the Hampshire wine fun 10 New test unlocks importance of carbon 12 Silicon linked to lower copper levels in wine grapes REGULARS 22 Matthew Jukes Value for money 29 In conversation... The wines of Whinyard Rocks are made by Mark Smith of Black Mountain Vineyard. 30 The agronomy diary Options for staying ahead of weeds 32 The vine post A vineyard from scratch. 33 Legal Buying or leasing needs specialist advice. 41 Express your terroir How to have a wine ready for bottling in two weeks. 42 Representing you WineGB Awards 2023 – entries now open. 59 Machinery UV treatment in vineyards now available. FEATURES 14 Dogs in vineyards Here are some of your pictures showing how dogs have become part of vineyard businesses in various ways. 16 In conference... The WineGB Industry conference this year took place on 6 March at Denbies Wine Estate, Dorking Surrey. Front cover image: Pet Nat – Whinyard Rocks iti t i ts in G t B t in


Natural beauty

The answer lies in the soil

The structure of the soil, its pH, nutrient and organic matter content along with bulk density, microbial diversity and respiration can all have a massive impact on the success of a vineyard’s crop. 34

The remarkable new T4 tractor

Rugged landscape and breathtaking views are just some of the wonders at Whinyard Rocks, a vineyard located on the edge of the Radnor Forest in Powys, Wales. 24 44

Available in three widths and ideal for vineyards, the new T4 breaks new ground. Vineyard speaks to Haynes Agricultural about this remarkable new tractor.

Time to hand over to the machines?

When carried out by hand, bud rubbing is arguably one of the most backbreaking and time-consuming vineyard tasks.


From the editor

A little bit of fun.

“Fun is one of the most important – and underated – ingredients in any successful venture. If you are not having fun then it is probably time to call it quits and try something else,” said Richard Branson.

Fun as a concept is something that can be difficult to hold on to. We start off in our chosen venture with enthusiasm and as we go along we pick up skills however worries, difficulties and trials are things that come the way of everyone. Some trials are deeply personal and some we share collectively. The WineGB Industry Conference (page 16) addressed some of these collective concerns not only for the English and Welsh wine industry specifically but also for humanity in terms of climate change. These things can make it a challenge to hold on to that sense of fun and yet it can be achieved. In this edition we have included a little bit of fun thanks to all of you who responded to our request for pictures of your four legged friends that are an integral part of your wine world. A sense of fun was also clearly evident when I visited Whinyard Rocks in Wales for this month's editor's visit (page 24). Whinyard Rocks have started out on their wine journey and their sense of fun has not diminished despite the unique set of challenges they face and I am confident that they will continue to hold onto this as their journey continues.

Wine is of course a serious business and there are many passionate people within our industry but sprinkling a little fun into the mix will only increase the sparkle. Our publisher has said that I have gone all mushy so I am off now to find some fun at the pruning competition…

your thoughts and comments by email to
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Join the Hampshire wine fun

Sunday 23 July, 12.00pm to 4.30pm at Hambledon Vineyard.

Vineyards of Hampshire (VoH) Fizz Fest is on for the ninth year! Join Hampshire's ten premier vineyards on a summer’s day at England’s oldest commercial vineyard –Hambledon Vineyard.

Fizz Fest is the VoH flagship event and one not to be missed, with this commercially successful group of vineyards showing over twenty-five different premium sparkling and still wines. With glass of fizz in hand and something tasty to eat, attendees can learn more about, taste and purchase the incredible variety of Hampshire sparkling and still wines.

The Vineyards of Hampshire members range from small family owned to large vineyards with exceptional wine tourism venues. This year the association welcomes newest member, Quob Park Estate. All share one aim: to promote the quality of their Hampshire wines.

Ian Kellett, owner of Hambledon said:

“We are delighted to be hosting Vineyards of Hampshire’s annual Fizz Fest here at Hambledon Vineyard, Hambledon. We look forward to seeing old friends, and welcoming all wine lovers, to taste a range of sparkling and still wines in our historic setting.”

Established in 1952, Hambledon is the UK’s oldest commercial vineyard. The current owners, Ian and Anna Kellett, bought the estate in the late 1990s and replanted with various clones of the classic Champagne varieties of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meunier. Today the estate has just over 200 acres under vine and concentrates on producing the very finest English Fizz. Ticket bookings are open now for Fizz Fest admission and tasting, vineyard and winery mini-tours and exclusive masterclasses from Enjoy Discovering Wine, Tipple Talk and Riedel Glass.

Taste the latest vintages in the dedicated

tasting tent, enjoy a chilled glass of sparkling in the Fizz Bar; purchase your favourite bubbles from the shop to enjoy at home; listen to the live music and absorb the atmosphere, whilst eating delicious food from Hampshire street food stalls (more than previous years), alternatively book a table at Hambledon's new vineyard restaurant.

Vineyards of Hampshire comprises of Black Chalk, Cottonworth, Danebury Vineyards, Exton Park, The Grange, Hambledon, Hattingley, Louis Pommery England, Quob Park Estate, and Raimes.

Vineyards of Hampshire Fizz Fest is intended as an 18+ event therefore there are no children's tickets available to purchase. We recognise it is not possible to leave children at home alone and therefore ask that if you do need to bring any under 18's they must be accompanied by an adult at all times. The tasting tent is strictly for adults only.


TICKETS: £35 pp admission to VoH Fizz Fest including wine tastings + booking fee

MASTERCLASSES: £25 pp per event + booking fee

VINEYARD TOURS: £12 pp + booking fee





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New test unlocks importance of carbon

A new soil test can identify, measure, and compare the organic carbon content in a soil sample. This presents opportunities for farmers and food producers to more accurately communicate the levels of carbon being sequestered in soil and also offers important data to help manage soil organic matter.

The tests, launched by Eurofins Agro UK, use near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) to measure organic matter which will help farmers to make more accurate decisions and reduce CO2 emissions by sequestering more carbon. Sophie Cath from Eurofins Agro UK said: “For the first time, farmers will be able to use accurate carbon data to chart soil health. This will help decide crop rotation, the use of nitrogen fixing cover or break crops and the quantity of organic and non-organic fertilisers.”

The test will provide data on how much carbon is sequestered in the soil, how much organic matter is stable or dynamic, what inputs can be used to improve the carbon sequestration potential of the soil, and how those inputs are likely to impact on the crop.

“Carbon is a key indicator of soil stability and fertility. Understanding how carbon fluctuates is the key to balancing the amount of carbon, nitrogen, and other soil components. Understanding the carbon to nitrogen ratio is critical to soil stability because it helps to indicate what levels of nitrogen and other inputs are sustainable for the soil,” she added. The speed at which organic matter degrades determines the nutrients released to a crop. The higher the breakdown, the more nutrients are made available. This data is captured in the tests to help indicate what inputs will benefit the crop and what needs to be put back into the soil to improve carbon sequestration. Miss Cath explained that reaching this optimum level for a crop within a rotation can be better gauged by first understanding the active organic carbon content:

“We know that adding N stimulates growth. However, the C to N ratio is crucial to accurately evaluating the stability of organic matter and the speed it is broken down. By better understanding this we can manage soil carbon sequestration more accurately,” she said.

17 Sustainable Development Goals were adopted by all United Nations member states in 2015, with many, such as zero hunger, good health, clean water, and climate action directly or indirectly related to soil health.

“In short, we have a new and powerful tool that can tell us how much carbon is being sequestered in soil, how stable that carbon is, and how we can improve carbon sequestration over time. This can help agriculture to meet carbon targets whilst also lowering costs and improving yields,” she concluded.

Applications open for 2024

Applications for 2024 Nuffield Farming Scholarships are now open online until 31 July 2023. Prospective applicants can find out more about the application process and start their application by visiting how-apply.

The Nuffield Farming team are available to provide support to applicants throughout the process. This includes a series of online open evenings to answer general questions, cover specific elements of the applications, and receive advice from existing Scholars.

Anyone interested in applying for a 2024 Scholarship is encouraged to attend one of the Trust’s online “Open Evenings”, which will be held from April onwards. To receive details and register for these sessions, please email

New soil testing from Eurofins Agro UK can identify and measure soil carbon content 2023 scholars


Vineyard Agronomy

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Wine writer and drinks expert announced as new Fairtrade Foundation ambassador

The Fairtrade Foundation is delighted to announce that drinks expert, presenter, and lifestyle journalist, Aleesha Hansel is joining the charity as a Fairtrade Ambassador.

Aleesha is passionate about sustainability, trade justice, women’s rights, and diversity, as well as being an advocate on the importance of inclusion for marginalised individuals and communities.

Starting her career as a journalist, Aleesha has become a successful wine writer and presenter. Currently, she is the resident wine expert on ITV's Sunday morning show ‘Love your Weekend’ and regularly writes for national publications such as Tatler, Red, The Independent, Ocado Life, and Decanter.

Speaking on her new role, Aleesha Hansel, said: “While the nature of our challenges differ, I am personally aware of the difficulties facing those from disadvantaged backgrounds, as I hold the dubious honour of being the first wine writer of Black heritage in the UK alongside being a woman in a traditionally male-dominated industry. Working together to make the world a fairer place is something I can wholeheartedly throw my support behind, which is why I'm extremely proud to be named as a Fairtrade Foundation ambassador.”

A biostimulant can help reduce excessive accumulation of copper caused by the use of common fungicides

Silicon linked to lower copper levels in wine grapes

Trials on UK grape vines have shown that applying silicon as a foliar spray can help reduce excessive accumulation of copper, which can affect the sensory qualities of wine. Trials carried out by Orion FT showed that applying a silicon-based biostimulant strengthens the plant’s natural defences to mildew infection and can help it resist aphid and caterpillar feeding damage.

“Our trials showed an increase in silicon uptake of 30% following the application of Fossil, a silicon biostimulant, as a foliar spray. The product also helped the vines to take in significantly more zinc and iron, both essential for the formation of sugars. Optimising nutrient levels is a key property of biostimulant products,” explained technical specialist Kate Williams.

C l i p s a r e p a c ke d n p la s t c b a g - 1 0 0 0 p i e c e s F o r s p e c i a l o r d e r w e c a n c h a n g e q u a n t i t y P r i c e s d e p e n d f r o m t h e q u a n t i t y a n d w e c a n c h a n g e f o r i n d v d u a l c u s t o m e r We c a n m a ke p r i c e s i n Po l i s h Z lo t y E u r o o r B r t s h Po u n d

E a s y m a n n e r o f t i g h t e n i n g – s a v e t i m e a n d m o n e y

A g r o C S P i s t h e le a d n g s u p p l e r o f H o r t c u l t u r a l p r o d u c t s t o t h e p r o f e s s i o n a l g r o w e r a n d f o r n d i v i d u a l c u s t o m e r We s u p p l y p r o d u c t s l i ke : r r g a t i o n p p e s p o t s a n d c o n t a n e r s – a l s o n w h i t e b a le r t w n e t a p e s u p p o r t

O u r p r o d u c t s a r e v e r y h i g h q u a l i t y p r i c e i s n i c e a d d i t i o n o n l y

Elevated levels of copper in the soil can cause reductions in the levels of beneficial bacteria and fungi in the rhizosphere. Therefore, reducing the reliance on these products and filling the gap with a silicon biostimulant can both improve soil health and strengthen the plant naturally.

“We are not advocating that growers stop using fungicides. However, our trials show that by including a silicon biostimulant as part of an IPM approach, vines will carry less copper and more micronutrients, which will improve plant health, yield and also improve the aromatics of the wine,” she added.

The prevalence of excess copper in grape juices can have an adverse effect on the thiols of some wines, negatively affecting the aroma. A silicon biostimulant can be mixed with a fungicide to offset this whilst also strengthening the plant.

good price.

“Our findings provide evidence for the potential of at least partially replacing conventional fungicides. By protecting soil and biodiversity it also has the potential to make viticulture more sustainable. Silicon applications are a relatively low-cost option, can be added to a tank with other products, and have the added advantage of complying with the principles of the Sustainable Use Regulations,” she concluded.

Including U V stabilizer U n i v e r s a l p la s t i c c l i p f o r f a s t e n n g t h e g r o w n g s h o o r e c o m m e n d t o r a s p b e r r e s O u r p r o d u c t s a r e v e r y h i g h q u a l i t y p r i c e i s n i c e a d d i t i o n o n l y Our products are very high quality with a


Wildlife photographer Roger Caras said: “Dogs are not our whole life but they make our lives whole.” That statement is certainly true for those of you who responded to the March edition of Vineyard magazine which included a letter from Cherry Constable at VineWorks talking about the benefits of dogs in viticulture. Here are some of your pictures showing how dogs have become part of vineyard businesses in various ways.

VINEYARD NAME: Albourne Estate

DOG NAME: Bonnie Bonnie is so keen at welcoming people to the vineyard she was appointed to an official role! Here she is leading a tour... her coat says 'Albourne Estate Customer Relations Manager'.

VINEYARD NAME: Brook Hill Vineyard and Winery

DOG NAME: Mabel and Petra

Helping with the harvest.




DOG NAME: Otso – a Finnish Lapphund

Quite an unusual breed, traditionally used for herding reindeer in Finland. Chris at Astley has one because his wife is Finnish. "Otso" means "Bear God" or "Spirit of the woods" in Finnish. They also famously look like teddy bears.

VINEYARD NAME: Rathfinny Wine Estate

DOG NAME: Buster

As the height of the season approaches, if you have a photogenic dog or cat please keep sending us your pictures as we will run this feature again in the future:



Head of security in the vineyard at Swanmore Hampshire. She is a six year old (same age as the vineyard) Patterjack and keeps rabbits pheasants and the odd badger away from the grapes (some of the time!)

VINEYARD NAME: Hidden Spring

CAT NAME: Bacchus and Pinot

Not to be outdone, you can also find cats among the vines.


In conference...

The WineGB Industry conference this year took place on 6 March at Denbies Wine Estate, Dorking Surrey.

The sold out event saw visitors treated to a plethora of speakers covering numerous topics and the beautiful drive up to Denbies Wine Estate with vines on either side certainly ensured that visitors arrived in the right frame of mind.

Delegates heard Jancis Robinson MW open the conference and her first act was to thank all in attendance “for together creating a brilliant wine industry that Brits can be so proud of.” With progress comes challenges and trends “the most depressing trend in global terms is the contraction of the wine market,’ said Jancis. “There are so many alternatives: cocktails, draught beer, gin… downward pressure on the wine market and it is as well to be aware of that,” she added. It was clear however that even on this point the news is not all negative “less but better” and “buy local, eat local” provide positive selling points for UK wine. On another positive note

about general trends “oak down, alcohol and intense colour down, acid and freshness up are all things that play into your hand,” she told the audience. Pet Nat wines were also singled out as a market that is popular among young wine drinkers.

Speaking more specifically Jancis Robinson advised wine businesses to engage with the consumer – the real stories are important. Jancis advised: “There is a communication job to get across to the average consumer why your wine costs what it does.” Wine tourism and education as a way to increase direct to consumer sales “which are so much more profitable” was also highlighted in this introduction to a packed programme.

“We cannot avoid climate change,” said Jancis. “So far our country has been one of its beneficiaries but how long is that going to go on?” she asked. Using examples from the extraordinary weather events in both 2022

and 2023 from all over the world: Burgundy, Champagne and Hawkes Bay highlighting the impact of climate change. Pointing out that we are “in survival mode” there is a move towards sustainability and biodiversity within regenerative agriculture.

Dr Greg Cielniak from the University of Lincoln was the next speaker to take to the podium and he provided fascinating insights into practical applications of robotic technology. He predicted that this technology will be seen in viticulture within the decade. Dr Cielniak pointed out that so far his team has been working with vineyards in Europe and the WineGB Industry conference would be an opportunity for him to engage with the UK wine industry. “The British wine industry is a great place to collaborate on things like this,” he said. Introducing the team at the

Photo: Simon Buck

University of Lincoln Dr Cielniak explained that there are currently 30 staff working within the robotics for agriculture field with applications such as selective harvesting, phenotyping, navigation and safety. Dr Cielniak pointed to the change in the perception of automation. “The narrative around robots has changed in the last five years… now it is a signal of promise or hope to save the industry, not to take jobs but to save businesses.” Speaking of a current project Dr Cielniak spoke about the development of technology that would allow for selective harvesting that would ensure only perfectly ripe grapes are picked. After being invited to ask questions one member of the audience took the opportunity to thank Dr Cielniak for “years of research distilled into a few slides that we can look at.”

Simon Thorpe MW presented the next segment outlining what will be a very busy 12 month period for WineGB.

Simon outlined how data at the moment relies on collecting a significant amount of information from growers. There will be a report released later in the year that will “explain to the government how important we are now and how increasingly important we will be in the next decade,” he said. Viticulture is such a growing industry “we need to be

able to show what it looks like as it grows,” Simon added. There was also a request for any growers who have received an industry survey to send in their response.

On the growth of the industry Simon showed figures from the Food Standards data (which is probably missing a significant number of vineyards due to a delay in registration) that shows there are about 4,000 hectares of vines in the UK which has more than doubled since 2015. One surprising figure was that since 2020 there have been 60 new vineyards planted by new entrants to the industry. Another interesting graphic highlighted that hybrid varieties now make up 10% of grape varieties planted in the UK. Looking to the future the projections suggest that by 2032 there will be 26 million bottles being produced in England and Wales.

WineGB received about 121 responses to the industry consultation on PGI/PDO and these replies had a high degree of consensus. The topic of still wines will be revisited later in 2023 and there will also be some thought given specifically to wine in Wales. Points that came from the consultation relating to the production of sparkling wines started with that idea that there should be no difference in the meaning of the terms England/English

and likewise with the terms Wales/Welsh. Another clear outcome from the consultation was that the term British should not include wines made from concentrate that is bought in from other countries. Currently you can only be in the PDO/PGI scheme for sparkling wine if you make wine in the traditional method but the consultation surprisingly highlighted a strong consensus that all sparkling wine that is made here should be allowed within the scheme.

“The world is changing and we have a growing category of sparkling wines made from other production methods and we shouldn’t deny them access to the PDO/ PGI schemes but it was clear also that we should protect traditional method sparkling wines separately from the rest. These wines should continue to have some differentiation.” Simon explained another commonly held view was that permitted grape vine varieties within the overall scheme should be broadened to allow more of the hybrids to come in, as they are varieties that will help the industry become more sustainable so they should be included. The next consultation will be related to how the differentiation among sparkling wines can be achieved and this investigation <<


will start shortly. “We really want to give everybody the chance to have their say,” Simon concluded.

Simon Thorpe announced that there was a change of personnel at the Sustainable Wines of Great Britain Scheme. Chris Foss who has worked very hard to get the scheme up and running is no longer working with the SWGB scheme. To ensure that sustainability continues as the focus of the scheme Peter Gladwin has agreed to chair a review of the SWGB scheme which will be undertaken by a review panel.

Simon Thorpe also announced the development of a book with contributions from members that will be presented to King Charles III in his coronation year. Simon Thorpe added a plea for vineyards and winemakers to get involved with this project.

Simon Thorpe then handed over to Julia Trustram Eve who presented the results and findings of the WineGB tourism survey. The survey was sent to 215 businesses who provide tourism in some form. “We received 85 responses, I am reliably informed that 85 from 215 is a pretty good result so again thank you very much to those who took part,” said Julia. By 79% of respondents wine tourism was ranked as important or very important.

From the data it was clear that for the smaller producers wine tourism has a huge impact on their income. Most of the respondents expected their tourism offering to increase in the near future. “Nearly 50% of respondents stated that they had a venue to hold weddings and other events and just over 20% have accommodation, with a large number expecting to add accommodation,” Julia explained.

There was good news with actual visitor numbers recovering well after the pandemic. A large number of respondents (2/3) reported a 17% increase in visitor numbers in 2022 compared to the previous year and just short of 970,000 visitors were recorded among only 68 respondents. One very interesting statistic from Visit Britain found 42% of inbound tourists that responded to the survey declared they would be interested in visiting a vineyard in the UK. “We asked what support do you want from WineGB? One common response was the suggestion of the production of more leaflets and maps,” said Julia.

On the subject of support from national and local government agencies unsurprisingly the subjects of wine cellar door duty relief, planning permission and signage were high on the list. Julia pointed out that Mardi Roberts who has had a huge amount of

experience in the south east tourism sector sits on an advisory board at Visit Britain and Ruth Simpson sits on the Board of visit Britain so there are people working very hard behind the scenes to promote wine tourism. Julia also spoke about the huge amount of online conversation that is generated around English Wine Week reminding attendees of the importance of creating a buzz around events that will be held. It was exciting to hear about the development of an awards programme to highlight cellar door excellence involving judging panels and secret shoppers. The scheme will involve both large and small enterprises and is currently planned for rollout in 2024.

The final seminar of the morning session was presented by Tamara Roberts of Ridgeview with the title Managing Workload to Support Diversity in the UK Wine Industry. The afternoon provided the perfect opportunity for delegates to choose which area of interest they wished to explore with multiple lectures available under the headings Viticulture, Winemaking and Business & Marketing.

At the viticulture seminars sustainable practices and their link to fruit quality was the subject discussed by Peter Hayes after which Luke Boxall spoke on the subject Sustainable Viticulture: Soil Health. Gregg Dunn was the final speaker of the day in this section. Over in the Winemaking session Winemakers Sam Lindo and Nick Lane presented A New Way to Make Pinot Noir. This was followed by a very in depth look at How Microbes Affect Wine Style with Professor Matthew Goddard of the University of Lincoln.

The presentation was crammed with thought provoking material relating to the microbes and their impact on wine. “Microbes play a small but measurable role in wines sense of place,” said Professor Goddard. Meanwhile Henry Clemons of Knight Frank, under the heading of Business & Marketing, spoke on the subject of Grant Funding for the UK Wine Sector. Something that all who are eligible should consider. This was followed by Hannah Milnes whose topic of Social Media: Making the Most of your Digital Presence had been a consistent theme throughout the morning and many of those in attendance will no doubt benefit from this timely discourse.

A fantastic conference was concluded with an opportunity for those in attendance to mingle and continue to learn from each other and share an interchange of ideas our appreciation of this heightened by its absence in recent years.

Simon Thorpe MW Jancis Robinson MW Dr Grzegorz Cielniak
Peter Gladwin

New points record

Plumpton Wine Business student wins international tasting competition.

Plumpton Wine Division are delighted to announce one of their first-year international wine business students has won the annual Concours des Jeunes Professionnels du Vin (CJPV)

Wine Tasting Competition for Young Professionals in Paris, and in doing so set a new points record!

The annual contest, sponsored by the French Government’s Department of Agriculture, pits young professionals from all over Europe against each other in a three-day long wine tasting competition.

Every year Plumpton sends two students over to France for this competition. This year Alex Finn and Charlotte Bradbury, both International Wine Business students, were

selected and went up against nearly 100 competitors.

23-year-old Alex was one of the three finalists going head-to-head against professionals from Italy and Croatia before winning triumphantly with a score of 92, the highest points ever recorded in the history of the European competition. Charlotte was placed a very respectable 11th.

The three-day rigorous process sees competitors compete in three rounds: Wine Rating, Wine Characterisation and Communication with a Wine Tasting plus Commentary for the three finalists. In addition, both Alex and Charlotte each had to prepare a presentation on the nominated topic. This year's topic was "Viticulture: a

living sector that evolves on a daily basis”.

Tim Andrews, International Business lecturer at Plumpton commented “This really is a fantastic achievement. Alex is a highly enthusiastic and engaged Wine Business student and it’s always a pleasure to see our students’ hard work pay off. Both Alex and Charlotte have a very bright future ahead in this international industry.”

Alex said “We had a great few days with Charlotte. It was the biggest agricultural show in Europe, so there was plenty to see! It was great to be the first English person to win, and I am very happy! I would like to thank Plumpton for the opportunity. Hopefully, there are more winners in the future to come from Plumpton."

Alex will take home a cash prize of €400.

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From the eyes of an exhibitor

From bottling lines through to tanks, tractors through to vine trimmers, the Vineyard & Winery Show has every type of trade on hand for the 2,000 or so growers and wine makers that attend every year in November.

Organised by the same team that publishes this very magazine, the

As a veteran exhibitor and a frequent attendee at vineyard trade shows, VineWorks is in a unique position to provide an ‘insider’s view’ of this event.

How do we think the show went?

The event was well organised from start to finish with visitors arriving as soon as the doors opened. Stalls were well spaced, which kept congestion to a minimum, and there was ample space to display large equipment and vehicles.

The range of seminars was excellent. We were particularly pleased with the reception Sam Middleton received for his research exploring PIWI, (disease-resistant) grape varieties, which was sponsored by VineWorks.

What did we talk about with visitors?

At the VineWorks stand, we were busy all day fielding lots of enquiries from people thinking about planting or considering using our consultancy packages.

We also had a number of existing clients drop by to initiate discussions around expansion – suggesting that investment within the sector is strong.

Our new VineWorks branding was a big topic of conservation. After 16 years in the business, we decided it was time for a refresh. We worked with leading designers, CookChick, to come up with a new logo inspired by aerial views of vineyards.

Vineyard & Winery Show has quickly become the place to exhibit and visit if you are in any way involved in such a fast moving industry. But we understand that you may not just want to take our word for it, so we asked Vineworks – who have been in the industry since 2006 –what they thought of the 2022 event.

What was our most popular feature?

Our fresh coffee, biscuits and comfy chairs went down a treat!

We invited some of our suppliers (Bekaert, Gripple, Mapman, Metos) to join our stand which gave them a chance to speak directly with clients and demonstrate their products.

Our display of trellising materials attracted a number of enquiries about the vineyard supplies available to purchase from our online VineWorks’ shop.

Final thoughts

“The Vineyard & Winery Show is the best industry trade show in the UK. Vineyard owners and viticulture professionals can meet face-to-face, hear the latest research, and explore services, all in the space of a day,” enthuses James Dodson, CEO.

The 2022 show demonstrated that the UK wine industry remains strong and vibrant with new investment, research, technology and service providers continuously developing.

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The VineWorks team on the Vineyard & Winery Show 2022
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Value for money

A bargain is something sold cheaply, a product or a service that is run-of-the-mill, everyday, not something special. Buy one get one free on loo rolls, yoghurts, and slabs of beer for a party are all bargains, but I doubt you would describe any of them as excellent value for money.

Value, or my preferred term (why are they often French?) rapport qualité prix, which I shorten to QP in my annual Burgundy En Primeur Report, speaks of the quality and price ratio.

I like this – it seems more tangible and can refer to items of any quality and price. A Porsche 996 is widely regarded as the bestvalue Porsche around, but it can hardly be thought of as a bargain. A bottle of wine that sells for £15 but tastes more like a tenner is a rip-off.

But one that sells for a tenner and tastes like it could sport a £15 price tag represents excellent value. I have spent my entire wine trade career seeking wines that represent superb value for money. It was the first lesson I was taught in 1987 by the late great James Rogers. He would walk into the Barnes Wine Shop and put a couple of cases of wine bottles on the counter, all wrapped in kitchen foil. Our job as lowly bottle hands was to taste these wines blind and attribute a retail price to each. James would return after a hearty lunch for the grand unveiling. We then listed the wines with the finest flavours whose prices we overestimated by enough margin to warrant a ‘great value’ tag. While we are often a little too glib about this ubiquitous term, I have always tried to remain faithful to the philosophy, and so this month, I have picked three wines that I believe represent seriously great value for money.

I hope you agree.

2016 Greyfriars Vineyard, Cuvée Royale


Greyfriars vintage sits this side of the thirty-five-pound mark, putting hundreds if not thousands of sparkling wines to shame.

This time, a neat 50% Chardonnay, 50% Pinot Noir brew with no fewer than six years under its belt. Only 3,400 bottles were made, and each one is filled to the brim with handpicked, whole bunch pressed, old oak fermented, glorious wine.

This is a superb discovery, and if you have yet to taste it, I insist you make a beeline for a bottle or two because the perfume, lift, weight, and tension components here are assembled with such precision it is extraordinary. What’s more, it is still a baby, and it is clear that there is so much more to come over the next decade.

It also looks the part, making this the most exciting, desirable and finest-value vintage sparkling wine in England.

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Value for money is a curious expression. It means something a little different to each of us, but I imagine it does not mean the same thing as a ‘bargain’ to any of us.

NV Langham Wine Estate, Culver Classic Cuvée £30.95

I am such a massive fan of the Langham portfolio of wines, and every single cuvée exhibits obvious value for money.

Culver is made from 51% Pinot Noir, 35% Pinot Meunier and 14% Chardonnay and it deserves its ‘Classic’ moniker. The current release is based on the 2019 vintage. With a careful addition of 17% reserve wine, the result is terrific balance, expressive, flavour-packed fruit notes and an overall experience that is ready to go right now.

All too often, NV releases seem tense, nervy and raw, arguing that they need a couple of years to calm down and find their equilibrium. Culver exudes class and control from the off, and it is so composed and rewarding that I am confident that even the most ardent sparkling wine snob would fall head over heels for this wine.

But the biggest shock would be the price tag –thirty bangers for a wine of this distinction, now that is bafflingly good value for money.

NV The Grange, Classic £34.00

The current release of The Grange (another Classic that deserves this title) is made predominantly from the 2017 vintage.

The make-up is a neatly balanced 48% Chardonnay, 27% Pinot Noir and 25% Pinot Meunier. In this regard, it presents a different set of flavour triggers than Culver, making it a must-buy wine this month.

There is a touch of barrel fermentation here which serves to soften the edges, and with 13% reserve wine on board, it is fresh, as opposed to a more sluggish or weighty, number. With 37 months spent on its lees and 7g/L dosage, this is a thoroughly civilised sparkler with more than a little grace and distinction.

I scribbled in my tasting notes that ‘there is no Champagne around that compares to this wine at this price’. And also that it shows ‘juicy freshness and a most rewarding flavour’. Glance up the page to the price again and join me in welcoming The Grange to the tremendous value club!

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Natural beauty

Rugged landscape and breathtaking views are just some of the wonders at Whinyard Rocks, a vineyard located on the edge of the Radnor Forest in Powys, Wales. Situated on a farm with a diverse landscape including 125 acres designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) Whinyard Rocks is a surprising fi nd.

The story behind Whinyard Rocks is as beautiful as its location and perhaps just as diverse.

“It began one night in our flat in London near the Elephant and Castle, James asked ‘how would you feel about us moving to Wales and starting a vineyard?’” Susan Kinsey-Jones explained. This seems a very quiet beginning for such an adventure. James Kinsey-Jones had grown up on his family sheep farm in Wales but moved to London to study. After receiving his PhD James continued to develop his career as a medical research scientist lecturing and presenting at conferences around the globe. “We were able to visit many wine growing regions around the world,” said Susan who at the time worked for a food and drink start-up. Susan is not from a farming background and is from the south east of England and yet has a spirit for adventure and an optimism that is extremely rare. With their combined skills and armed with the fantastic combination of determination and a can-do attitude the couple decided to uproot their lives and the first vines were planted in 2017, which also happened to be the same year that

they got married and started a family. Susan and James both work exceptionally hard. James works at the university of Cardiff and Susan still works as a freelance writer in the food and drinks sector, alongside caring for their young family they also undertake all the tasks in the vineyard themselves everything from fencing to photography.

Since James is a research scientist the couple thoroughly investigated the vines that they considered suitable for the land they had. This led to a decision that took Whinyard Rocks away from planting many of the varieties that are common elsewhere. Solaris, Phoenix, Regent and Rondo were all planted as these hybrid varieties are better suited to the location on the west side of the UK. The site with a loamy soil type is quite exposed “allowing for the leaves of the vines to dry out,” explained Susan. There are a few rows of Ortega in this initial block of vines named The Plock. “A happy accident,” Susan said laughing but this has

24 Rebecca arme r E d i rot
Susan and Eric standing next to the shale of Whinyard Rocks
Photos: Jamie McGrorty, Marco Kesseler and Mat Price

turned out rather well as these grapes have added to the blend “a flavour of passionfruit and peach that is unexpected.”

“At 250m above sea level, we knew that if we had discussed our plans with a viticultural consultant they would have told us not to do it,” said Susan candidly. Although in the wider area it is obvious to see that this is a region that has long been associated with fruit growing and established orchards can be seen all around. The initial set up cost for the vineyard averaged about £10,000 for the first acre planted in 2017. They planted more vines in another block in 2021.

"Although the expansion of the vineyard is curtailed by the availability of resources there are still plans to double the size of the vineyard in the next two seasons. Currently with 2,500 vines the plan is to plant a further 1,500 vines in May 2023. A field that is currently home to a flock of sheep will be planted with the varieties Bacchus and Muscaris. “We really wanted to plant Caberet Noir this year but we could not source the vines,” said Susan.

“We have more plantings planned for 2024 which will be Pinot Noir Précoce/ Frühburgunder and also the Caberet Noir,” she added. James and Susan are aware that with this increase in plantings will come extra work “with money you can be resourceful but time is finite,” she said. Despite this comment there are plenty of future plans at Whinyard Rocks. Food and Drink Wales have provided some funding that allowed the couple to upskill such as taking the WSET level 2 course. “We are also taking an introductory course into biodynamics,” said Susan. I am left bewildered as to how this couple seem to have a knack for stretching the hours in a day.

“Alongside integrating cover crops into our vineyard this year, in an effort to incorporate some biodynamic principles into our work we're also planning to develop a spray system that uses natural products for nutrition and protection such as herbal teas, milk/whey and essential oils, alongside some ideas for compost – we have made a Johnson-Su bioreactor to develop fungal rich compost, we want to develop a vermicompost system and plan to produce compost at scale for mulching vines,” James explained.


Currently with 2,500 vines the plan is to plant a further 1,500 vines in May 2023
James and Susan


<< I ask about problems they have faced in the vineyard and it is quite a revelation. “We have not suffered from mildew at all,” said Susan. “We had some frost damage in 2020 and are looking at ways to deal with this, possibly a sprinkler system but James would go through the vineyard and light candles if it was desperate.” Talking about predators it becomes clear that Whinyard Rocks suffered a major set back in 2019. Susan makes an excellent storyteller as she said: “We were sitting in the pub in June (a rare moment of time off) and we received a call… sheep from the neighbouring farm (owned by a cousin of James) had got into the vineyard. When we arrived they had eaten everything green on 800 vines. We call it ‘Sheepgate’.”

At this point it becomes very noticeable that the vines are now surrounded by a sturdy looking electric fence. With the situation unsalvageable James and Susan did not panic but looked instead to 2020. “Initially we thought that ‘Sheepgate’ would set us back 12 months but in reality it has been more than that,” and yet even relating this tale does not put a dent in her optimistic spirit adding that as a couple they are even considering the use of the sheep in the vineyard (either as lawnmowers or as controlled leaf strippers) as part of synergy for the farm as a whole. Considering their history with the vines this seems to indicate a very forgiving spirit although in terms of using the sheep to strip leaves at least they have demonstratable proof that the sheep find the leaves palatable. The nearby Radnor Forest is known for Red Kites and during the visit these magnificent birds of prey can be seen flying overhead so it could be assumed that bird predation is not a problem in the area but Susan continued: “In 2020 the Phoenix suffered heavy bird predation so now we net all the vines at the end of September. Every year we are learning a lifetime of knowledge.” This continual learning process has also led to the idea of a green harvest. “The Rondo cropped really heavily in 2021 but in 2022 the vines did not perform

Visitors to the cottage will be amazed by the amount of history they can find in the area. Medieval, Roman and Bronze Age remains are part of the very fabric of the region
The vines are surrounded by a sturdy looking electric fence
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of soil and tissue

quite the same so we are looking at undertaking performing a green harvest in the future to prevent stress to the vines.”

The vineyard also has guest accommodation in the form of Highbrook Cottage, a 16th century cottage which was lovingly renovated by James and Susan during the pandemic. Visitors to the cottage will also be amazed by the amount of history they can find in the area. Medieval, Roman and Bronze Age remains are part of the very fabric of the area. Whinyard Rocks is a formation of Silurian shales from which the inspiration for the name of the vineyard is taken. On a drive up to this unique rocky outcrop Eric Kinsey-Jones (who is the third generation of his family to work the land and father of James) points to a Dewey (an elevation that is between 500m and 610m) called the Whimble on which there is an ancient chieftain buried. “From the top it is possible to see at least six counties,” Eric explained. Perhaps this is the reason it was chosen as a final resting place. There can be no argument that the scenery is breath taking and Susan and Eric talk about coming to this beautiful spot to collect winberries (wild blueberries) that find their way into pies made by James’ mum Olwen and also into gin which both sound fabulous. Susan again points to this as something that the vineyard could incorporate into its future offerings.

Conversation turns to the wine which like the vineyard is made in a manner which is low intervention. The wines are made by Mark Smith at Black Mountain Vineyard after Susan and Laura (Mark’s wife) <<

In 2020 the Phoenix suffered heavy bird predation so now we net all the vines at the end of September

met while both taking their children for medical appointments. To their surprise they both had vineyards and now Whinyard Rocks has a great collaboration with a winemaker who shares their natural, low intervention values. There are currently two wines, a Pet Nat which is 70% Solaris and 30% Ortega, along with a sparkling red wine that is 100% Rondo called Col Rondo (“James loves a play on words,” said Susan smiling) made using the Italian ancestral method (Col Fondo) being re-fermented in the bottle. Using wild ferment with indigenous yeasts and with the bottling processes in the winery undertaken by hand, sealed with a crown cap these wines receive no added sulphur and do not undergo fining or filtration. These natural wines are aimed at younger consumers who are interested in exploring the wine world.

There is a growing market for natural wines and they also have a lower alcohol content than a lot of other wines on the market.

“Our neighbourhood near the Elephant and Castle, London had a natural wine bar,” Susan explained.

The branding of the bottles suggests a younger market and the QR code on the bottle leads those drinking to a music playlist that fits with the feel of the wine. James and Susan are passionate about the wines they make and their chosen method of production yet Susan makes clear: “We are not trying to compete with the south east of England.” Visits to the vineyard commence this summer and it will be nice for visitors to enjoy these wines in their ‘natural’ surroundings. The whole experience will give (those who want to) an opportunity to find fun in life.

Susan has an art history degree and has put her skills into creating a playful colour scheme for the labels. The two labels are very different and it becomes clear that whilst they are both from Whinyard Rocks they are both telling their own story. The essence of natural wine is that each bottle has it’s very own unique sense of expression and Whinyard Rocks carry that principle through to their label design. Whinyard Rocks is a place of planned progression and later in 2023 a traditional method low intervention wine made with Phoenix will be released also a still red that incorporates the Regent grape. The future is looking very full for the Kinsey-Jones family.

As the visit comes to a close Susan returns to her storytelling and tells me that legend has it that the last dragon in wales sleeps in the nearby Radnor Forest – perhaps he would like to share a bottle…

Whinyard Rocks is a formation of Silurian shales from which the inspiration for the name of the vineyard is taken

In conversation...

Natural Winemaker Mark Smith of Black Mountain Vineyard, Herefordshire talks to Vineyard magazine and gives his thoughts on the challenges and benefits of being a natural wine maker.

Why have you chosen to make wines in a natural way?

Making the wine in a natural/low input way has really evolved over five or six years. We started off making Traditional Method from 2013 up until 2017, this was made with low additions of sulphur (usually below 20ppm total sulphur dioxide for the finished wine) This wasn't really something I set out to do but the wines natural acidity and careful ageing meant I didn't really feel I needed to keep making additions. I also have a friend who is allergic to sulphur and doesn't really drink wine for that reason, he did try a glass of our wine with no reaction which I guess started me thinking about what goes into a bottle. From there I started discovering styles like Pet Nat/Col Fondo and skin contact. This thinking was also applied to the vineyard so I started organic conversion in 2018 and have since been working on lots of different techniques to improve the site and soil. In 2018 I also had a really good crop which gave me a bit more freedom to try some of these styles which I found really enjoyable. I've ended up focusing on Col Fondo style as it allows me to age the base wines. I like to blend more classic varieties i.e. Pinot Noir/Meunier with skin fermented wines made from Solaris and Siegerrebe. This base wine is then bottled with fermenting must from the next vintage to provide a natural fizz.

As the winemaker experienced what challenges and rewards have you expeienced?

There are challenges in the winery at times. You have less control when working with spontaneous fermentation. This vintage many of the ferments were rapid which can lead to undesirable flavours. I've found that racking during the fermentation helps this as well as letting the ferment finish and then adding in some fermenting must. Fermentation is great at cleaning things up. Also giving wines time, this is probably the biggest mind shift for me, not looking for the thing that will fix the problem quickly anymore. Trusting what I'm doing and so far, everything has come through (though this isn't always easy!)

For me, I think the wines I make now represent the grapes better, through improved flavour and balance, which is very rewarding. However, there are many factors in this like vine age and weather to be considered. I still have a long way to go to get the vineyard where I want it to be which is one of the most challenging aspects as it takes time to improve soil, though it is enjoyable. In the last year I found Korean natural farming which I've loved implementing. This method of farming allows me to create many inputs for the vineyard from the local biology and nature. The hope is that I'm able to bring in greater plant, insect and animal diversity and lowering environmental impact. It's a work in progress!

What are your thoughts on the increase in natural wines both from a global point of view and also for English and Welsh wines in the UK?

I hope that the natural/organic/low input wine movement is something that can have a positive impact on the environment and I think it is a great vehicle for small producers to tell the story behind the piece of land that they farm or the growers they work with. Personally, I find it very exciting to see vineyards with life and diversity and have found that people really engage with it. I rent my piece of land on a 25-year lease, one of my main aims is that I improve it for the next person who farms it. I hope it can continue to grow in the UK, I think producing grapes that are naturally high in acidity can lend itself well to this style of winemaking.

Whinyard Rocks Pet Nat at the winery of Black Mountain Vineyard Whinyard Rocks Still Red at the winery of Black Mountain Vineyard
Whinyard Rocks has a great collaboration with a winemaker who shares their natural, low intervention values. The wines of Whinyard Rocks are made by Mark Smith of Black Mountain Vineyard.
Ma Smi

Options for staying ahead of weeds

As spring kicks vines into action, inevitably so does weed growth. Hutchinsons agronomists Rob Saunders and Chris Cooper consider

weed control options available.

Maintaining a weed-free strip immediately around and underneath vines offers multiple benefits for reducing competition with the crop, and facilitating free air movement for reduced disease pressure, especially botrytis during ripening later in the season.

Doing so sustainably is an increasing consideration for many growers, but it is not easy to assess and compare traditional herbicides with non-chemical solutions based on cultivations, or novel kit that uses electric, gas burners, or high pressure water or steam, to control weeds. The energy requirements, time, and financial outlay must all be considered, as well as the impact of tillage on soil health.

Cultivations for example, can be very effective in the right conditions (i.e. dry, friable soil), however in wet soils, or on heavier ground it may be much harder to get right. Moving the topsoil on a regular basis raises other concerns too, such as erosion on sloping land, carbon losses, and the impact on biodiversity, such as ground-nesting bees and soil biology.

Living mulches

Although not widely used yet, there is increasing interest in sowing green covers underneath vines to suppress weeds, improve soil health, and benefit biodiversity. They also offer an added aesthetic factor, which may be important to those who open vineyards for public events or tourism.

It is vital that any species sown underneath vines do not grow too tall or vigorously, to minimise competition, allow good airflow around vines, and facilitate bunch ripening later in the season.


identified Red fescue as a useful option, most applicable where excess vine vigour is a problem. It can be tricky to establish though, as it is not particularly competitive when small, so higher seed rates are required. Microclover is another option Hutchinsons is looking at in a small trial with one grower in the West. The plant’s short, stunted growth habit is ideal, while it also fixes some atmospheric nitrogen into the soil.

Living mulches have the added benefit of shading the soil, reducing soil temperatures in extreme summer heat, to the benefit of soil organisms and reduced vine stress. With any living mulch, there remains the risk that dominant weeds, such as thistle, will come through, and chemical controls are then very limited due to the risk of killing cover. It may be possible to use a weed wiper for taller species, or deploy an inter-vine mower.

As with any green cover growing beneath vines, whether that's microclover, Red fescue, or any other cover crop, initial signs can be promising, but only time will tell if there is any impact on disease risk, frost damage, ripening, vine vigour or yield.


While non-chemical options have a place in certain situations, in established vineyards, the traditional herbicide-based approach is still most effective, requiring only limited passes, and allowing soil to remain undisturbed.

Programmes should be tailored to the weed species and pressure at individual sites, but generally, glyphosate remains an important tool in the armoury.

On established sites under high weed pressure, some will have applied propyzamide to manage weed populations during the winter, which can be followed in

late April or early May with glyphosate or carfentrazone-ethyl + glyphosate.

A second application of carfentrazoneethyl + glyphosate later in the season is an effective approach in many situations, although remember that carfentrazone-ethyl has a 90-day harvest interval, so should be applied by the end of flowering.

Competition for light, water and nutrients is inevitably greatest – and potentially most damaging – on newly planted vines, so it is essential to control weeds properly before planting, and during establishment. Biodegradable membranes and handweeding planting holes are important options given limited chemistry.

Organic mulches

Applying organic material, such as PAS 100 compost, or woodchips, can help suppress weeds, while building soil organic matter and nutrients, but neither option offers a complete solution.

Weed seedlings often germinate within compost, for example, potentially increasing, rather than decreasing, the burden. Sourcing, transport and application of compost, can also be barriers to its use, while quality can vary.

Woodchips are an alternative mulch, potentially offering better weed control, but there are similar issues with availability, transport and application, due to their bulky nature. Additionally, the high carbon content of wood or bark chippings may reduce nitrogen availability to vines as woody material breaks down.

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A vineyard from scratch

As vineyard planting in the UK is in full swing, with more and more vines planted each year, it is a useful time to reflect on the main considerations in vineyard design.

What is the vineyard for?

We harp on about ‘the purpose of the vineyard’ at every client meeting. It is a profoundly important point of concern for both new entrants and existing wine producers. What is the fruit for and who will do something with it? The fruit that your vines produce needs to have a home before the vines go in the ground. You need a contract winemaking service organised, or a contract to sell the fruit agreed. I can’t stress the importance of this enough as vineyards without a purpose are money sinks that very quickly start damaging the wider industry. However, if your motivation is to look at something pretty when you throw your curtains open in the morning at ‘mon château’, then be prepared for the cost of the vineyard to exceed what it will earn.

Do you have land, or will you need to buy it?

One of the most interesting trends that VineWorks has seen in recent years is investment from international clients looking to buy land for grape growing in the UK. We are retained on a couple of land searches with wildly different criteria and plans. This gives someone a unique opportunity to source and buy land that is well-suited for viticulture. For existing landowners, you will need to make the land you already have work for you. This might involve putting additional measures in place to mitigate challenges.

What is the land like?

The basic land attributes for northern hemisphere, cool climate viticulture is well known. Here is a short reminder of what to look for – a gentle south facing slope below 100 metres above mean sea level on free draining soils and little wind exposure. This is a broad statement that has many ifs, buts, and maybes. That’s why it is important to hire a consultant to help you navigate site suitability, and what is possible.

Is the local climate suitable for what you want to grow?

Local climate attributes are only useful to know if you have a plan for the fruit that you are producing. Conversely, climate data can also define what

is possible to grow. Ignorance of climate data, or blindly pursuing a wine style without considering your historical climate data, is going to result in disaster. I always enjoy producing a Met Office climate report because it is the moment where we can begin to define the most appropriate grape varieties and clones for the site.

Have you optimised the field?

Usually between 15-25% of a field is lost to headlands, sidelands, and windbreaks. Happily, GPS surveys and vineyard mapping software help us to optimise a field for planting. Although it would be great to get every site planted with rows running north/south, we always follow the slope to make tractor operations easier. Vineyard owners only really start to appreciate this choice when dragging a huge trailer down a row or using a double-sided trimmer without height adjustment.

How will you establish the site?

With ‘regenerative agriculture’ well and truly getting the traction it deserves in conventional farming circles, ‘regenerative viticulture’ is not far behind. There have been some terrible examples of vineyards planted under the banner of ‘regenerative viticulture’. Misunderstanding of the importance of ground preparation and the practical application of these ‘regen’ techniques has meant some people have compromised the one opportunity we have to establish the vines strongly and healthily, throwing money away in the process. Planting a vineyard without the usual ground preparation tasks (subsoil, plough, harrow) requires the right soil type, understanding of historical land use and thought. You can’t just plant a field without cultivation and hope what soil you have is good enough. Remember, grapevines are the definition of regenerative agriculture as once the crop is in, it stays in for decades.

How will you look after it?

In this country, it is not unusual for vineyards to go in with no management plan or understanding of the colossal task ahead to keep a vineyard healthy and on its road to a cropping year.

Once a vineyard goes in, it will require you to walk this well-trodden path:

◆ good vineyard manager or vineyard consultant (with labour if possible!)

◆ good agronomist

◆ realistic budget

◆ commitment, tenacity, resilience, farming spirit and optimism.

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Buying or leasing needs specialist advice

The acquisition of a vineyard or winery can be a complex process. A buyer may start growing grapes from scratch or purchase an established vineyard or winery business. When deciding to invest, there will be many moving parts to the transaction, but the land itself will be the main asset and specialist advice is needed.

Buying or leasing viticulture land

A buyer will need to choose whether they buy or lease the land.

Investing in a vineyard or winery usually requires a large capital investment and a longterm commitment, so a buyer may prefer to buy the land as it gives them security and control.

In cases where landowners are not prepared to sell or suitable land to buy is in short supply, parties may agree to lease the land instead. Paying a yearly rent rather than an up-front sum can be an advantage for smaller businesses.

Both landlords and tenants will need advice from their solicitor on the terms of the lease. Tenants will want to negotiate a long lease term with security of tenure, the right to alter and erect buildings and the right to sell the lease.

Landlords may require break clauses (the option to terminate the lease early) and rent reviews. A tenant will need to consider how these terms can disrupt their business and affect their finances, considering the time it can take for a new vineyard to produce and sell wine.

Due diligence

The land acquisition will require the buyer’s solicitor to carry out substantial legal due diligence.


A full range of searches will be required to check the site’s planning history, any contaminated land or flood risks, any common land and the closest connections

for the supply of services.

A highways search will establish if the land has direct access to a public highway. Boundaries to rural land can change over time and where land is sold in part, small pieces of land known as ransom strips can be left between the land and the public highway. The buyer’s solicitor will need to check the land has the benefit of a legal or prescriptive (established after long continuous use) right of way over any ransom strips and can advise whether a Land Registry application or indemnity insurance is needed.


It will be important to check the authorised planning use for the land and any existing buildings to see if planning permission for change of use is required for a vineyard or winery.

Additional buildings may be needed for growing grapes and making wine and, as the business grows, for wine tasting, vineyard tours and bottling and selling wine. Buyers should ascertain at an early stage whether planning permission will be required and if planning and environmental constraints, such as listed buildings or conservation areas, restrict future development.

Adverse rights

A buyer’s solicitor will check the Land Registry title to ensure the buyer is not at risk of obstructing any third-party rights, such as a right to work the mines and minerals under

the land or a right of way for a neighbouring land owner.

Additional enquiries should be raised as there may be adverse rights that will bind the buyer which are not revealed on the Land Registry title. Depending on the current use and landscape of the land, the existence of farm business tenancies, grazing licences, public rights of way, fishing rights and sporting rights, among others, will need to be checked.


The land may be subject to restrictive covenants (obligations which require the landowner not to do something) which restrict the number or type of buildings on the land or limit what the land can be used for. Restrictive covenants generally bind future owners of the land and can be enforced years after they are put in place.

The land may also be subject to positive covenants (obligations which require the landowner to do something), such as maintaining a fence or an accessway. They are not attached to the land but can still bind a new owner.

If there is a risk a covenant may be breached by the buyer’s proposed development or use of the land as a vineyard or winery, the buyer’s solicitor can check the likelihood of the covenant being enforced and advise on the next steps to take, such as obtaining indemnity insurance, proceeding with a planning application or seeking a release from the covenant.

33 ebecca NeeC ial Pro p e r t ticiloS
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The answer lies in the soil

Improving soil biological activity.

Soil health is a huge subject area, and the characteristics that can impact the growth of vines are varied. The structure of the soil, its pH, nutrient and organic matter content along with bulk density, microbial diversity and respiration can all have a massive impact on the success of a vineyard’s crop.

Improving soil biology is always a current issue, but even more so now that the government has recognised the importance of encouraging activities that improve soil health. The Sustainable Farming Incentive was launched last year as part of DEFRA’s Environmental Land Management schemes. The overhaul of the EU farming subsidy system has been referred to by environmentalist George Monbiot as the “one genuine benefit of Brexit.”

The incentive pays producers who conform to certain standards – in relation to arable and horticultural soils, as well as a variety of other areas – and by doing this they acknowledge them as a public good. £1 billion will be spent “to support food production while protecting habitats and wildlife.” In 2023, more standards will be added to the scheme, including nutrient management and integrated pest management.

Current research

New ways to maximise outputs are continually being investigated. Research funded through DEFRA’s Farming Innovation Programme is ongoing to find ways to increase productivity and sustainability in UK grape growing, for example. Led by NIAB at the East Malling Research Vineyard as well as on commercial sites, the £350k project is investigating the impact of cover cropping and mechanical weeding strategies on soil health.

“It is still quite early in the project,” said Root & Soil Biologist with NIAB, Dr Flora O’Brien. “We are currently focussing on the importance of cover crop establishment methods; how to achieve a good cover crop stand, and its impact on soil health. Regarding sustainability, the most desirable option is to use a direct drill with little or no cultivation, however, the existing grass sward and weed population can often be problematic and outcompete the cover crops. We are looking at how to best manage this and will monitor the impact on both the vines and soil health.”

One outcome of the two-year research project will be guidance on bespoke cover crop mixes to control nematodes, alleviate soil compaction and improve soil nutrition. This will be supported by recommendations

Willow bed, coppiced annually to provide wood chip for compost at Limeburn Hill Vineyard Composted grape marc after one year breaking down at Limeburn Hill Vineyard
Compost tea maker, used to increase fungal and bacterial life before spraying on soil at Limeburn Hill Vineyard
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Composted wood chip from vine pruning and willow coppice, after one year at Limeburn Hill Vineyard

supporting the transition to net-zero carbon emissions. It is envisaged that bringing up standards of soil health will address some of the causes of inconsistent yields and low juice quality.

Cover crops and green manures that are currently in use in UK vineyards include:

◆ Beans and clover for nitrogen

◆ Mustard and phacelia for carbon storage

◆ Linseed and oats for deep rooting

◆ Daikon radish planted in the winter as the deep-rooting varieties help with drainage and compaction

◆ Vetch and lucerne help to add nutrition to the soil

◆ Cocksfoot or ribgrass are deep-rooting grasses that assist with soil structure.

Identifying areas of the vineyard that perform differently and understanding why certain vines have issues with, for example, drainage or excessive growth is key to selecting the correct cover crop mix.

While cover crops are known to improve soil fertility by fixing nitrogen, suppressing weeds and preventing soil erosion, they are often ignored by commercial growers who fear that they may harbour insect pests, create more maintenance and increase competition for nutrients and water. This research may help to provide solid evidence that the practice of cover cropping actually brings more benefits than drawbacks.

That would be an organic matter

Increasing the organic matter content of your soil is an indisputable way of improving soil health. The manual addition of manures and composts is one way of securing those benefits for your soil.

The British Standard Institution has produced a specification for compost materials known as BSI PAS100. It applies across the UK and aims to improve confidence in composted material by helping to identify products that are safe and reliable.

“Some 15 years ago the PAS100 product landed and is now freely available from numerous suppliers,” says agronomist Julian Searle. “Several suppliers also spread in fruit row crops for a fee – FGS Agri, and Bournes are two examples. Trials at NIAB-EMR with AHDB demonstrated conclusively that at a sufficient rate, spread to the rows only, water and nutrient availability was significantly improved to depth as well as providing a useful mulch against immediate water loss.”

In some areas, composted manure is available as an option too. Julian recommends spreading every vineyard one year post-planting and, if not restricted by the NVZ regulations that control the amount spread, to the planted row only.

When applying compost or manure, there are a number of factors to take into consideration:

◆ The timing of organic amendments can affect their availability and impact on soil health. Application in the autumn or winter can allow for nutrient release before the growing season. However, spring applications can also be beneficial as they enhance soil biology and provide nutrients to the vines.

◆ The application rates and distribution are important to avoid nutrient imbalances or excesses as well as to keep within the water regulations. The application rate will be dependent on the type and quality of the amendment, and the vineyard’s nutrient needs. Even distribution is important to ensure uniform nutrient availability across the vineyard.

◆ Each type of amendment comes with its own strengths and weaknesses. Fresh manures may have a high nutrient content, but they can also contain weed seeds or pathogens. Well-aged composts provide a slow release of nutrients and enhance soil structure, but may cause too much vigorous growth in the vines.



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Cloud Agro Ltd are specialists in soil health and crop nutrition. They work with scientific and agricultural institutions to develop laboratory protocols and farm products that are rigorously tested and proven in field trials. Founder Ross Barclay-Beuthin explained: “Cloud Agro’s services and products make it possible for producers, for the first time, to accurately measure and effectively treat the ‘burn rate of nutrients’ exported during harvest, together with the ‘burn rate of humus’ expended during mineralisation.”

One of the products they supply is Smart Feed, a 100% natural organic fertiliser and soil conditioner, under the brand name FutureGro. It comes from the process of organic nutrient recycling, an upgrade to the traditional practice of manure and green waste application. It is six times stronger than FYM and 50 times more effective than green waste. FutureGro encourages plants to grow stronger with enhanced nutrition and more balanced soils. The repeated application of the product helps nutrients become more available as the soil becomes more fertile, meaning that, over time, less chemical fertiliser is needed.

Tillage and Glysophate

“When it comes to improving soil health, physical soil management must play a part too,” said agronomist Julian Searle. “Travelling the ground frequently means deep cultivations are important.” Breaking up the soil to depth promotes better air infiltration and drainage reducing compaction or by adding deep rooted green manure into the soil.

There are arguments against practices like tilling which break up the soil surface since it can lead to erosion or indeed compaction. There is also a danger of vine damage when the process is badly managed and runs too close to the trunks of the vines. The topography and soil type of a vineyard will inform whether or not these sorts of practices offer a

net benefit in specific cases.

“Cultivation for weed control has become very popular following the perception that glyphosate is dangerous,” Julian explained. “The arable sector is following a ‘minimum tillage’ model allowing the soil macro and micro fauna to create a naturally fertile soil profile with significantly reduced work to the soil; it seems to me the frequent cultivation model to remove weed under perennial fruit crops works against regenerative practice in so many ways. If glyphosate can be proven benign to the eco-system, its use, say twice a year, will fit very well with modern regenerative practice. The possibility of infrequent ‘shallow’ cultivation integrated with ‘safe’ herbicide use is perhaps the ideal.”

Ham Street Wines

“Soil health is at the heart of what we do and is an essential part of our management practices, especially as we are organic certified,” said self-confessed ‘soil geek’ Jules Phillips of Ham Street Wines in Kent. “We do this through the use of cover crops to increase plant diversity and soil structure, the use of inoculant composts such as a Johnson Su or BD500 to increase life in the soil and other composts such as PAS100 or woodchip to add carbon and organic matter to the soil.

“Paradoxically we also focus on plant health too (to improve soil health), as healthy plants will release root exudates feeding the life in the soil and boosting the soil food web, we do this through a nutrition programme informed by plant sap analysis.”

Jules and his wife Lucie are also conscious of other activities that limit soil health, such as the use of copper or compaction from machinery. They continually strive to reduce these activities wherever possible. Copper can disrupt soil structure, leading to compaction and reduced aeration which will limit root growth and nutrient intake. It can also be toxic to beneficial microorganisms in the soil and bind with nutrients, making them less available to plants. Finally, repeated use

Johnson Su Bioreactor (a great fungal compost) at Ham Street Wines

of copper can also make the soil more acidic, which may affect the balance of its chemistry.

For this reason, copper-based fungicides should be used judiciously, and in some cases, alternative fungicides or non-chemical management practices may be more appropriate. Improving vineyard hygiene, employing integrated pest management strategies and using fungus-resistant grape varieties like Solaris, Rondo or Seyval Blanc may all mitigate the need to use copper regularly.

“If we can improve our soil health enough,” Jules said, “we will increase the health of the vines, quality of the fruit and mitigate the impacts of climate change, a win-win!”

Making friends in your soil

Reducing chemical inputs into the soil generally has the additional benefit of creating an environment that welcomes a diverse population of soil microorganisms.

◆ Mycorrhizal fungi form symbiotic relationships with plant roots that improve nutrient uptake and the efficiency of water use. They can also help to suppress plant pathogens and improve soil structure. Adding organic matter to the soil and reducing the use of chemical fertilisers can help to promote their development.

◆ Nitrogen-fixing bacteria convert atmospheric nitrogen into a form that plants can use as well as suppress pathogens and

fertiliser in the UK.

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support soil structure. Green manures added to the soil will help to encourage their growth.

◆ Earthworms help to improve the aeration of the soil and break down organic matter more efficiently. Earthworm populations can be encouraged through reduced use of pesticides, adding organic matter to the soil and avoiding excessive tillage.

Monitoring soil health over time can help to identify areas for improvement and allow management practices to be adjusted as required to ensure that your vineyard is as welcoming as possible to these tiny allies.

Biodynamic viticulture

The first certified biodynamic wine in the UK was released by Sedlescombe Vineyard in East Sussex in 2010. At the core of biodynamic agriculture is the principle of ensuring the land is a self-sustaining organism. This includes focusing on the other plants and animals in the vineyard as well as the vines themselves. Biodynamic certification demands that growers improve the life of the soil and that at least 10% of the land is dedicated to encouraging biodiversity.

Chemical fertilisers and soil conditioners are replaced with natural ones. The Demeter UK Standards state that “a biodynamic enterprise should aim for self-sufficiency in its manures and fertilisers’ using compost, stable manure and organic wastes, for example. Strict controls are placed on where these products can be sourced from, and the situation is the same with the permitted agents for plant pest control and protection against fungal attack.

“One of the key principles of biodynamic viticulture is considering the vineyard as a self-contained, living organism,” said Robin Snowdon, the vineyard manager and winemaker at Limeburn Hill Vineyard near Bristol. “This means that we aim for self-sufficiency and closed loop cycles when considering any soil or plant treatments. In relation to soil health this could be having your own livestock and using the manure; having willow beds (perhaps to treat water) that can be chipped and transformed into fungal-rich compost; or chipping the vine prunings to be part of a fungalrich compost that could be used for compost tea to inoculate the soil with beneficial microbes.”

There are nine biodynamic preparations that are the cornerstone of biodynamics. Seven of those focus specifically on soil health. Perhaps most well-known is the Horn Manure preparation, made from fresh cow manure buried in the ground in cow horns over the winter before being retrieved in the spring. The contents are then diluted and sprayed. “It works as a compost tea,” Robin explained. “It inoculates the soil with microbial

life. We also use the Six Compost Preparations that all add specific micro nutrients and macro nutrients to a compost which is then spread across the vineyard.”

Robin has found tangible improvements to the soil and biodiversity at Limeburn Hill since working with biodynamics. “We have noticed a slow but significant improvement in soil health,” he said. “This is evidenced by the density and diversity of soil microbes seen under the microscope, an increase in worm numbers and diversity, and the increased activity of moles (whose main source of food is, of course, earthworms). We have also noticed an improvement in surface water drainage across the vineyard which indicates an improving soil structure, plus a much greater diversity of wild flora and the resulting insect and bird life in the vineyard –we are currently at over 60 species of birds identified on the vineyard.”

For more information on the Sustainable Farming Incentive, visit To learn more about biodynamic certification through Demeter, access
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How to have a wine ready for bottling in two weeks

Winemakers know that every wine is different and despite the title of this article, some wines take more than two weeks to bottle while others can take less, depending on the approach and target. Most wineries, have their wines, protein and chill stable, for mainly aesthetic reasons and more than one technique can be applied. I will mention the most time and quality efficient techniques applicable to small wineries in my current experience. The most effective way is to work out the blending trials altogether and make a blending plan with a sequence of steps for all blends at the same time.

There are four key steps applicable to most wines:

◆ Blending

◆ Protein stability

◆ Filtration

◆ Tartaric stability.


In my opinion blending is one of the most beautiful experiences in winemaking and it is definitely my favourite. It’s an intimate moment with each component in the constant search for perfect harmony within a specific style, (see article in February 2023 edition of Vineyard).

Depending on the wine status based on influences such as: turbidity, evolution, oak, reductive or oxidative conditions etc, most components might not taste as they will in six months or three years time. They have to be seen in perspective and this comes down to experience. After finalising the blending plans, making a blend can take a few hours or two to three days per single wine. This obviously depends on how complex the blend is, tank space and set up. My suggestion is to mix the components by doing a “rack & blend” and have them as clear as possible for the next step.

Protein stability

Protein stability is normally achieved by using

bentonite. However, there are wines containing enough tannins that don’t require bentonite for protein stability purposes: red wines in primis and white or rosé wines fermented/aged in new or semi-new barrels.

There are bentonites with different specifications some can be more effective, some remove more or less colour and some can settle faster based on wine, temperature, tank material and height. This stage is also compatible with the addition of finning and clarification agents.

One of the bentonite substances that I use takes about a week to settle achieving between 5 and 10 NTU. At this point the wine is ready for a coarse filtration; “rack & filter”, no need to rack first.

Wines which are clear enough and that don’t require bentonite or finning have no need to settle and can be filtered immediately after blending.


Once you know your wine and your filters, you can choose how and when to start filtering. Lenticular filtration, cross-flow, pad or another method it’s a choice based on volume, goal and budget as well as using the appropriate filtration modules, matrix, degree of retention, absorption etc.

If the wine is intended to be sterile filtered on bottling day, we have to make sure that the coarse filtration retains enough solids and achieves enough clarity (< 1 NTU), for the final filtration avoiding colmatation.

Due to the small blend volume, most single wines in the UK can be coarse filtered within a day.

Tartaric stability

Crystallisation inhibitors have been around for about two decades and have demonstrated their reliability against the potassium salts of tartaric acid. Most of them are negative charged, so the wine must be protein and colour stable before addition. (Please

remember that lab trials are always advisable). Despite some opinions, they can also be used in rosé and red wine as long as you’ve done your homework on how to use them. Depending on what you choose to use, they can be added between 24 hours and 5 days before bottling if a final filtration is required otherwise, the wine is ready for bottling immediately. To gain time on this step you can run your laboratory trials soon after blending even on the blending trials.

I prefer to add the inhibitors after the coarse filtration, which always generate some losses, and on a perfectly clear wine. In this way, it’s easier to double check and identify potential post-addition instabilities by checking the NTU before bottling.

If you’d like to get in touch, I would be happy to hear from you. Tell me how or what you do differently, if you’re enjoying this article or perhaps make suggestions for future topics.

alvatore Leone emak i n g Catlusno
I’ve been an independent winemaking consultant in the UK for 10 years and I’m very excited to share my experiences.
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Representing you

Working in partnership with Vineyard magazine for a developing UK wine industry.

WineGB is the national trade body representing the vine growers and winemakers of Great Britain from the largest producers to small hobbyists. Our members work together with the organisation to develop strategy, expertise and marketing opportunities for long-term, sustainable success.

WineGB Awards 2023 –entries now open

Entries are now open to this year’s WineGB Awards. Dedicated to highlighting the excellence in the many styles of wine from all over the UK today, this competition is a must-enter event. With a top judging panel led by wine superstars Susie Barrie MW and Oz Clarke OBE, your entries will be tasted and reviewed by a fantastic group of wine luminaries, from writers to buyers

and sommeliers. An award will give you the opportunity to promote your wines to your customers with the very highest of endorsements.

Entries close on 5 May, so there is still plenty of time to enter. All entry details and forms are on the members’ area of the WineGB website. The competition is open to WineGB members only.

WineGB Industry Conference

On 6 March, we welcomed 170 guests to our sold-out Industry Conference at Denbies Wine Estate in Surrey. We were also joined by a group of esteemed panellists, including renowned wine writer, presenter & critic Jancis Robinson MW, who gave our keynote address which focused on key trends in the global wine industry and how they applied to the GB industry.

Presentations covered topics from ‘robotics in UK viticulture’ and ‘managing workload to support diversity in the UK wine sector’ to ‘the effect of microbes on wine style’ and ‘grant funding for the UK wine industry’. A big thank you to all our speakers: Dr Greg Cielniak

(University of Lincoln), Simon Thorpe MW (WineGB), Julia Trustram Eve (WineGB), Peter Gladwin (Nutbourne Vineyards), Tamara Roberts (Ridgeview Wine Estate), Peter Hayes (Industry Consultant), Luke Boxall (Soil Nurture), Dr Greg Dunn (Plumpton College), Sam Lindo (Camel Valley), Nick Lane (Defined Wine), Professor Matthew Goddard (University of Lincoln), Henry Clemons (Knight Frank), and Hannah Milnes (Bouchon Media).

We also wanted to extend a special thank you to all of our Partner, Patron & Sponsor community for supporting this event, and particularly to the conference headline sponsor and WineGB Gold Patron, Rankin Cork.

If you are interested in wine production in the UK find out more about WineGB and join us. Visit our website
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WineGB will again be putting English wines in the spotlight at this major UK trade event.

The WineGB Pavilion will be located prominently towards the centre of the trading floor, and include a meetings area and individual producer pods. There are still a few spaces available to WineGB members seeking exposure to buyers from UK wine retailers, wholesalers, restaurants as well as key wine writers and influencers. This offers an opportunity to exhibit at this major show at an affordable rate, and includes added logistical and promotional support from WineGB. Food & Drink Wales will have their own stand and the popular Nyetimber bus will also be present.

For more information, please contact or see the information on the members’ area of the website.

Stepping up on export


End March to 5 May

WineGB Awards entries open

24 April 2023

Plumpton College course: Identi ing and Managing Wine Faults

Location: Plumpton College

15-17 May 2023

London Wine Fair, Olympia London – WineGB Pavilion

31 May 2023

Regenerative Viticulture Workshop

Location: Itasca Wines, Hampshire

3-11 June 2023

Welsh Wine Week

17-25 June 2023

English Wine Week

7 July 2023

WineGB Awards Lunch

5 September

WineGB Trade & Press Tasting

Location: London

22 November 2023

Vineyard & Winery Show

WineGB lobbies MPs

WineGB recently held a tasting for MPs, organised in conjunction with our All-Party Parliamentary Group, headed up by Flick Drummond MP.

The event gave WineGB an opportunity to outline our key focus areas: simplifying the Deposit Return Scheme; our PDO/PGI review; reducing cross-border bureaucracy; A number of export-related activities are taking place, highlighting the growing interest from, and potential in, overseas markets. ProWein in March saw more exporting producers than ever before take part in this largest wine and spirits event in the wine trade calendar.

Last month also saw a group of buyers from the Norwegian monopoly Vinmonopolet visit key exporting producers across Hampshire, Sussex and Kent. This month, producers will be at the British Embassy in Oslo as it hosts both a trade and consumer English wine tasting event. Norway remains Britain’s most important importer of UK wines and these activities will continue to boost exports and highlight tourism.

inclusion of GB wine in Small Producer Duty Relief; Seasonal Worker Scheme labour; applying for research grants to support the viticulture sector; and supporting exports of GB wine. The document we produced outlining these key areas was shared with all MPs with vineyards in their constituency after the event.

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The remarkable new T4 tractor

Available in three widths and ideal for vineyards, the new T4 breaks new ground.

Trying to have a mobile phone conversation with a customer who is sitting in a noisy tractor can be a challenging experience for a machinery salesman.

For Haynes Agricultural’s fruit and vineyard sales specialist Richard Smith, though, the challenge he faced when he called customer Russell Graydon recently at Adrian Scripps Ltd was subtly different.

“Do you know where I am?” Russell asked him, before revealing –without raising his voice – that he was sitting in the cab of Haynes’ demonstration New Holland T4 120F tractor – with the engine running.

“We knew that New Holland claimed the new cab was the quietest on the market and that phone call certainly proved it,” said Richard. “It was far and away the easiest conversation I have ever had with a customer while they are using one of our demo machines.”

The remarkable new T4, available in three widths and ideal for vineyards, breaks new ground in a number of areas and has already been named Tractor of the Year 2023 in the ‘specialised’ category.

It’s set to prove an impressive new addition to the range of vineyardfocused machinery on offer from Haynes, which has long led the way in serving growers right across the south of the country and has built up an enviable reputation for supporting vineyards.

Jeremy Cloud, still working for Haynes at the age of 70, was the first top fruit specialist to be employed by a dealership and has now been

Richard Smith

delivering expert advice to the company’s growers for several decades. The opportunity of working alongside Jeremy as Haynes’ vineyard specialist was one of the attractions for Richard when he joined the company.

“Haynes has a wealth of experience in vines and top fruit and is well placed to help new entrants to the industry as well as those who are looking to develop and grow their enterprise,” he said. “That expertise is backed up by a well-chosen range of machinery from some of the best manufacturers around, allowing Haynes to meet the needs of vineyard customers large and small.”

But it’s not just selling the right equipment that’s important to Richard and to Haynes. “To a certain extent anyone can sell a tractor,” he commented. “Particularly when it’s as outstanding as the new T4, because that essentially sells itself.

“What’s more important to us is the backup we provide, in terms of delivering and setting up the equipment and in our after-sales service. Our customers know that we are here to fix their machinery if it goes wrong and look after it during its lifetime to make sure they get the best out of it from start to finish.” <<

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Going above and beyond simply selling a tractor or a piece of vineyard machinery is a particularly vital part of the service in what is still a comparatively young industry, as Richard explained.

“It’s subtly different from farming, when you are often dealing with customers whose fathers and grandfathers were farmers. They generally know their way round farming equipment and don’t need a lot of help with attaching a seed drill, setting up a cultivator or whatever.

“Viticulture is different, though, because a lot of people who come to us for machinery are new to the industry, which is still in its infancy, really. We really can’t just drop a bit of machinery at the farm gate and leave them to get on with it.

“We make sure we show them how to attach it, set it up and get it working and

we give them all the advice they need to make sure it does what they want it to do. And we’re there on the end of the phone at the start of the next season – perhaps six months or more later – when they need to use it again but may have forgotten how it works.”

It’s the kind of support that a fledgling industry needs, along with a range of machinery franchises that allows vineyard owners to source the kit they need, confident in the kind of after-sales service that makes a huge difference to the efficiency of any operation.

Those franchises include JCB, which makes a range of materials handling equipment including telehandlers and forklifts that are ideally suited to vineyard operations. Votex twin and triple rotor toppers are also popular, while Haynes also supplies flail

mowers from Kuhn, the unbeatable Clemens range of foliage management and undervine care and Berthoud’s innovative Cruis’Air sprayer for the New Holland Braud 9000 grape harvester.

“We are confident that our well-chosen manufacturers can together provide a reliable range of machinery that is ideal for both established and new vineyards,” said Richard.

When it comes to motive power, New Holland’s upgraded Stage V T4 FNV series is already turning heads and justifying its place as the top selling specialist tractor in Europe.

While Stage V emissions compliance is clearly an important part of the upgrade, growers are more likely to be impressed by its genuinely flat cab floor, improved ergonomics, uprated visibility thanks to a noticeably lower bonnet, increased

Photo: ©Berthoud
<< <<
420S | TELESCOPIC WHEEL LOADER Introducing the all-new Stage V JCB TM420S. With JCB’s proven DieselMAX 4.8 litre engine delivering a massive 173hp (129kW) and a new 8-speed powershift transmission with Torquelock in all gears for a greater range of travel speeds up to 50kph, it’s our most powerful and productive TM model ever. And with fuel saving regenerative hydraulics, high flow pipework, Auto Smoothride System and new seamless one-piece glazing, there’s now an even more powerful argument for buying one. @JCBAgriculture NEW 4.8 Litre Contact your local dealer or call 0800 917 3325 for more information. F RUIT& VIN E SPECIALIST S LARGEST CAB IN IT’S CLASS NEW 514-40 | TELESCOPIC HANDLER Richard Smith 07483 035922 1.8m Max Height Demonstration machine due soon 2.9m Max Length 1.55m Width No DPF for lower servicing costs HAYNES AGRICULTURAL LTD.

hydraulic capacity and better mid-mount options. A tweaked engine layout also means that the whole of the exhaust after-treatment system is tucked away under the bonnet, rather than outside it.

“We have already heard back from customers who have had the new T4 on demo and say it represents a massive step forward,” said Richard. “They have, without, exception, been impressed by driver comfort, the visibility, the improved layout and the flat floor – as well as a cab so quiet you can take a phone call inside it with the engine running!”

As well as being available in fruit, narrow and vineyard options, the T4 can deliver from 75 to 120HP, with the 90 and 100HP models likely to be the most popular and the narrow option ideal for 2.2m vineyard alleys. Its mid-range price bracket represents impressive value for money, and its ongoing popularity means it’s a tried and tested model that shouts dependability from the rooftops.

Richard, who was funded by Haynes to complete a Principles of Viticulture course at Plumpton College when he joined the team, said New Holland had invested heavily in the Stage V iteration of the T4, including taking customer comments on board.

The result is a truly new model inside and out. “It’s nicer to drive, the visibility is much better and the floor really is flat,” said Richard. “It has an uprated dedicated service pump and a second hydraulic system for running machinery that can be specced at 64 or 80 litres a minute. State-of-the-art guidance systems from Novotel and Raven are a fuss-free add on.

“It also has a new rear linkage and better mid-mount spool valve options with free flow return and four pairs of couplers, while its Supersteer front axle means it still boasts the tightest turning circle in the fruit and vine sector. It also delivers more torque <<


at lower rpm. Not surprisingly, customer feedback to date has been positive.”

Haynes serves its customer base from depots across the south, with sales, service and parts support provided from Birchington, Great Chart and Wrotham in Kent, Uckfield in East Sussex, Horsham in West Sussex, Winchester in Hampshire and Newbury, Berkshire. Specialist support is

provided by Richard and Jeremy and by Hampshire-based Matt Pinnington. “Each of the depots has some seriously well-trained technicians who know the machinery we sell and are well qualified to take care of it,” said Richard. “We pride ourselves on creating ongoing relationship with customers by delivering great backup and that’s down to the talented teams

across the patch. We have a fleet of mobile engineers available from every depot, which means machinery can usually be serviced or repaired on site.

“We believe that the new T4, together with our impressive range of vineyard machinery and our focus on after care, makes Haynes the first choice for growers across the South of England.”

Photo: ©Berthoud
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BV Range - Vineyard & Orchard Shredders

A wide range of top-class machinery

Haynes Agricultural offers a wide range of top-class machinery to pair with the all-new, next generation New Holland Stage V T4 FNV tractor.

It includes the renowned Clemens range of undervine and leaf treatment equipment that provides numerous options aimed at helping growers remove the weeds from beneath their vines as well as managing the foliage.

This premium brand range includes the Radius SL Plus, which is simple to operate, can be fitted with different shafts and tools and is designed for environmentally friendly weed control. The Multiclean mulching brush is another popular tool from the well-respected Clemens stable, which includes finger hoes and a range of cultivation equipment specifically designed for vineyards.

The New Holland Braud grape harvester is available from Haynes, with a demo unit expected in June. “This is a very exciting development for us,” said fruit and vine specialist Richard Smith. “We have been wanting to offer the Braud for some time and we feel that the UK viticulture industry is now developed enough for us to offer it.

The over-the-row Braud is a multi-function platform that can also be adapted to other functions including spraying, spreading and

trimming, with Berthoud’s Cruis’Air opening up a host of options for growers.

Haynes also supplies twin and triple rotor toppers from the wellrespected, Hereford based mower manufacturer Votex and a range of flail mowers/shredders from Kuhn.

Kuhn’s SDS – side delivery system – mulches cover crops and grass between the rows and delivers it beneath the vines to suppress weeds and retain vital moisture. The manufacturer’s MDS range of variable rate fertiliser spreaders is aimed at specialised operations including vineyards. The company also builds trailed and mounted sprayers with capacites of between 400 and 3,000 litres.

Alongside tractors, vineyards need materials handling equipment, and that’s where Haynes’ JCB franchise comes in to play. The telehandler range runs from the all-new 514-40, which can lift 1.4 tonnes to a height of four metres, through to the 560-90, capable of raising six tonnes to a height of nine metres.

“The 514-40 will be the ideal size for our customers as it is light enough to transport easily between sites and has the right spec for vineyards, together with JCB’s renowned build quality and reliability,” said Richard.

GOES ANYWHERE, DOES ANYTHING: THAT’S ITS SUPERPOWER! New T4FNV SUPER VERSATILE SUPER VICTORIOUS SUPER SAFETY Level 4 cab for complete operator protection during spraying and treatments SUPER COMFORT Flat deck, 4-pillar cab, high visibility front windscreen and suspended front axle SUPER PRODUCTIVITY Best-in-class, powerful FPT Industrial engine with up to 120 hp, 100% under-hood exhaust pack for easy implements installation and improved front visibility SUPER DRIVING PLEASURE PowerShuttle HiLo transmission and electro-hydraulic PTO engaged with wet clutch NEW HOLLAND TOP SERVICE 00800 64 111 111 24/7 SUPPORT AND INFORMATION The call is free from a land line. Check in advance with your Mobile Operator if you will be charged. Richard Smith 07483 035922 F RUIT& VIN E SPECIALIST S HAYNES AGRICULTURAL LTD.
FOR GENERAL ENQUIRIES PLEASE CONTACT ONE OF THE TEAM: For viticulturists in Great Britain Booking enquiries Jamie McGrorty 01303 233883 In association with 22nd November 2023 Kent Event Centre, Detling, Maidstone, Kent ME14 3JF 2023 Sponsored by Vitifruit Equipment Sales and Hire LAST FEW EXHIBITOR SPACES REMAINING. BOOK NOW!

Prioritise engine oil performance

With rising prices hitting the agricultural community hard, such as the steep increase in fertiliser costs having a significant impact on the sector, it can be tempting to look for short term savings elsewhere. Choosing a cheap, alternative oil to the manufacturer’s specification, at a lower price, may seem like a sound investment.

However, says Adrian Hill, Morris Lubricants’ Technology Manager, selecting the wrong, and usually, an inferior quality oil may result in significant, long-term consequences to equipment performance and in the end, an overall increase in running cost.

The company, which manufacturers the specialist Agrimax range of agricultural lubricants for a wide range of tractors, vehicles and farming equipment, has just launched a new video series with tractor enthusiast and mechanic Guy Martin. The short videos demonstrate that no matter the agricultural vehicle, equipment type, brand or model, choosing the correct oil, lubricant and grease can have a positive impact on uptime and profitability.

Adrian outlines the company’s top tips for farmers as they prepare their vehicles for the new season.

Quality first

Modern tractor engines are now designed to Stage V emissions compliance for off-highway vehicles, to meet the latest emissions legislation. These modern engines will include after treatment devices, such as AdBlue systems, diesel oxidation catalysts and diesel particulate filters, to limit harmful particulate matter and NOx emissions.

Oil choice is important. Selecting the correct, high-quality oil will more than pay for the slightly higher purchase price in the long run. For example, an incorrectly specified engine oil can block catalysts or filters, potentially leading to significant remedial costs in the region of £3,000 or more for the replacement part, plus the additional cost of the repair and downtime itself.

Service intervals

Investing in a new or modern tractor is a significant capital expense, and farmers and farming contractors need the assurance that the investment will perform reliably over many years. After the initial three-year manufacturer’s service schedule, some owners may choose to delay future servicing, but this can prove false economy.

Engine oil over time may start to degrade, causing damage to vital engine components, so it is always advisable to meet the manufacturer’s recommended service intervals.

Right oil for the right job

Some older machinery may have always operated reliably using a universal tractor oil, but modern diesel particulate filters can be sensitive to these universal oils. Instead, farmers should ensure they are using the correct oils for both the engine and the transmission (back end) systems.

Seek technical advice

Machinery downtime is not only costly but can damage reputation if stock or deliveries are affected. Seeking professional advice

regarding the correct engine oil specification, or service intervals will always pay dividends. Morris Lubricants has a dedicated team of experts on hand to provide the latest oil, lubricant and grease recommendations for a wide variety of agricultural vehicles and equipment. Whether it’s a tractor, combine harvester, mini digger, or an all-terrain vehicle (ATV), the Morris Lubricants Technical team has the appropriate solution to keep tractors and other equipment working in the field rather than stuck in the workshop.

Choose performance rather than price Adrian concludes, “Choosing the right engine oil for the right tractor is a key part of equipment maintenance. It should be seen as a cost-effective and proactive means of protecting engine performance and ensuring equipment longevity.

“The fifth and probably the most important tip is to be guided by performance and not purchase price. This will ensure that farmers do not need to spend additional budget, at a time when costs are already at a premium, on unnecessary repair work.

“This is one of the key areas we discuss with Guy Martin in our new video series, which concludes with why engine oil quality matters.”

Morris Lubricants is advising farmers to put oil, lubricant and grease performance ahead of price as they prepare their tractors for the new season.
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Time to hand over to the machines?

Bud rubbing is a straightforward and important job all vineyard managers will be starting to think about in the coming weeks.

Removing unwanted shoots from the trunk not only keeps the vineyard looking tidy, but it also enables the vine to focus on putting its energy and nutrients where they’re most needed to grow quality grapes.

While established vines have fewer buds to remove from the trunk, it’s still a job which needs to be done each year for the lifetime of your vineyard. And if you don’t quite time it right, you may also have to go back through a second time in a season.

One chemical-free, labour, cost and back-saving solution for the removal of these vine suckers is the Braun Vine Trunk Cleaner.

This essential springtime maintenance tool has been used by vineyard managers looking to be more efficient and environmentally-friendly since 1977.

The suspension-mounted tool, which is available in a single- or doublesided set up, features a series of rubber paddles which brush away watershoots and suckers without causing damage to the vines.

While removing unwanted shoots, the Vine Trunk Cleaner also controls growth between the vines and can clear vine prunings from under vines

in preparation for mulching.

Another way to make light work of bud rubbing is with the Multiclean from Clemens.

In the same way that the Braun can also assist with clearing prunings from under the vines, growers have praised the Multiclean for its dualpurpose ability to significantly reduce bud rubbing costs and efforts, while also helping growers take weeds back to ground level.

This is possible due to the mulching brush, which effectively acts like a vine stem cleaner by removing the shoots and, simultaneously, controlling weeds in the under-vine area, like a strimmer would, without interfering with the soil structure.

“Both Braun and Clemens benefit from modular frames, so growers can simply add the Vine Trunk Cleaner or Multiclean onto their existing Braun or Clemens equipment,” said Claire Seymour, Director at NP Seymour.

“This not only makes it more budget-friendly, as you’re not having to buy a whole new machine, it also means that you can equip the tractor with multiple tools so operators can complete all spring maintenance jobs in one pass.”

For more information on the Braun Vine Trunk Cleaner and the Clemens Multiclean, as well as the other mechanical weeding solutions NP Seymour offer, please phone the office on 01580 712200 or email

When carried out by hand, bud rubbing is arguably one of the most backbreaking and time-consuming vineyard tasks.
MACHINERY ADVICE AND TIPS Claire Seym ur N P S e y m ruo dtL

Covering South & South East England


UV treatment in vineyards now available


UV boosting technology was showcased to leading vineyard managers and advisors in early February by Vitifruit Equipment with a very able presentation and discussion led by the French manufacturers international sales manager Martin Mazet.

The two row machine on display has been imported by Vitifruit Equipment and was available to be viewed as part of the discussions. For many years David Sayell has been the missionary to the UK with the introduction of specialised equipment for vineyards and this product stands out as being potentially one of the most important.

Thanks to the generosity of Godstone and Exton Park vineyards who hosted the events, many growers are now conversant with the equipment and technology.

The UV wavelength for treatment of vines is of a specific type which stimulates and enhances plant health through the plants own defence mechanism. The benefits in terms of disease control, general health, reduced chemical and sprayer use is well documented by over 100 independent trials having been done over the last ten years by regional Chambres d'Agriculture in collaboration with renowned research organisations and technical institutions. The research documentation from these institutes is freely available from UV Boosting via requests by

email to As an additional benefit with one pass two days before spring frost the freezing temperature of the buds is lowered so fewer buds are frozen. With the prototype built in 2017 there are now over 50 machines in operation.

◆ The two row trailed machine uses simple UV lamps mounted on a frame attached to the tractor and powered by pto and a generator.

◆ UV boosting technology can be cost effective from the first year of use thanks to higher yields due to the vine being more able to reach its maximum yield potential.

◆ Tractor forward speed is between 2km/h and 4 km/h with three to seven passes a year.

◆ There is no negative impact to the surrounding fauna and flora or the vines.

◆ The vines are stimulated by the UV and become more resistant to diseases such as powdery & downy mildew.

◆ The treatment is complementary to organic or conventional phytosanitary protection and allows a reduction in dependence on fungicide products, saving potentially up to 50% on chemical inputs.

◆ A pass two days before a frost event reduces the amount of frozen buds.

59 David Sayell&Richard W i t
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Articles inside


page 59

Time to hand over to the machines?

pages 57-58

Prioritise engine oil performance

pages 55-56

A wide range of top-class machinery

pages 52-54

The remarkable new T4 tractor

pages 44-48, 50-51

WineGB lobbies MPs

page 43

WineGB Industry Conference

pages 42-43

WineGB Awards 2023 –entries now open

page 42

How to have a wine ready for bottling in two weeks

page 41

fertiliser in the UK.

pages 37-38


pages 35-37

The answer lies in the soil

pages 34-35

Buying or leasing needs specialist advice

page 33

A vineyard from scratch

page 32

Options for staying ahead of weeds

pages 30-31

In conversation...

page 29


pages 26-28

Natural beauty

pages 24-25

Value for money

pages 22-23

From the eyes of an exhibitor

page 20

New points record

page 19

In conference...

pages 16-18


pages 14-15

Wine writer and drinks expert announced as new Fairtrade Foundation ambassador

pages 12-13

Applications open for 2024

pages 10-11

New test unlocks importance of carbon

page 10


page 9

Join the Hampshire wine fun

page 8

From the editor

pages 6-7


pages 4-5


page 3


page 59

Time to hand over to the machines?

pages 57-58

Prioritise engine oil performance

pages 55-56

The remarkable new T4 tractor

pages 44-48, 50-52

Express your terroir

page 41

The answer lies in the soil

pages 34-38

Buying or leasing needs specialist advice

page 33

The vine post

page 32

Options for staying ahead of weeds

pages 30-31

Editor's visit

pages 24-29

Matthew Jukes

pages 22-23

In conference...

pages 16-18

New test unlocks importance of carbon

page 10
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