Vineyard June 2024

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JUNE 2024 ™ Boutique beau INSIDE Contract winemaking PiWi potential A design for life LAND & PROPERTY CONSULTANTS Expert advice for viticulture: • Site-finding • Sales & acquisitions • Planning applications • Environmental schemes & grants Call us on 01892 770339 Matthew Berryman 07710 765323

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globe-asia twitter @VineyardMagGB facebook VineyardMagGB NEWS 8 £2.4B support plan 12 NIAB vine club launches for vineyard managers and staff REGULARS 13 Posing with alcohol The Wine Workers Collective. 16 Matthew Jukes A design for life 26 The agronomy diary Delving into the hidden Botrytis threats. 34 Written from experience Finding the right site 44 Representing you English Wine Week and Welsh Wine Week 46 Machinery Inter vine weeding. FEATURES 10 Insurance gears up to fight climate change 28 Secure your crop against damaging wet weather diseases Vineyard magazine gets some advice on controlling downy mildew and Botrytis this season, helping to avoid the losses experienced in 2023. 30 The next generation farm management system set to launch Hutchinsons announced the launch of the next generation farm management system which will be a significant advancement to their Omnia digital farming program. Front cover image: Vivai Cooperativi Rauscedo iti t i ts in G t B t in VI N E YAR D



Petite but perfectly formed The last ten miles of the drive to Brabourne Vineyard in Kent provided views of apple orchards, hop gardens, strawberries and of course vines.


The vine post PiWi potential: The future of fungusresistant grapes in UK vineyards.

Contract winemaking

Contracting out any stage of the winemaking process may hold appeal to growers for several reasons

Machinery advice and tips

Effective and efficient sprayer coverage.

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From the editor

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment,”

Ralph Waldo Emerson.

This month I have been struck by how we may not be able to do everything but we can do our best. This is as true in the vineyard as it is in life. But like the quote above reminded me, it is not just about doing your best but also holding on to the individuality that makes us unique. Striving to be the best we can be does not mean the same thing to everyone and that is certainly true in the vineyards of England and Wales.

On a visit to a small vineyard in Kent (page 18) it was overwhelming to see not just how they have worked hard to improve the diversity of the site but also how they continue to work really hard to ensure that the grapes and the wines they produce are the best that they can be.

Accepting that there will be limits on what is possible does not mean that we stop striving and thinking about implementing changes for the better.

I write this as the London Wine Fair is about to start and that made me reflect on the idea of coming together and learning from each other as a global industry as well as a local one. That spirit of trying to do your very best is always one of the most enjoyable aspects of the London Wine Fair and this year will have an even greater focus on sustainability with some important announcements already being hinted at.

It will be wonderful to once again come together as part of an international community meeting old friends and making new ones all of us with the aim of doing our very best as strong individuals making a strong industry.

6 6 Send your thoughts and comments by email to
ONE VINE AT A TIME VINEWORKS HAS BEEN SUPPORTING UK VINEYARDS SINCE 2006 FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: 01273 891777 VINE-WORKS.COM SALES@VINE-WORKS.COM VineWorks has been supporting UK vineyards since 2006 Specialising in: • Vineyard Establishment • Vineyard Services • Vineyard Shop • Fruit Brokering For MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: 01273 891777 ONE VINE AT A TIME SPECIALISING IN: • VINEYARD ESTABLISHMENT • VINEYARD SERVICES • VINEYARD SHOP • FRUIT BROKERING VineWorks has been supporting UK vineyards since 2006 Specialising in: • Vineyard Establishment • Vineyard Services • Vineyard Shop • Fruit Brokering For MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: 01273 891777 ONE VINE AT A TIME

£2.4B support plan

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has unveiled a comprehensive support package for British farmers at the UK Farm to Fork Summit held at Downing Street. The package aims to tackle the nation's agricultural challenges, with the UK currently producing only 17% of its consumed fruit and 55% of its vegetables. These measures are designed to enhance agricultural self-sufficiency and support farmers following a difficult season marked by adverse weather conditions and global supply chain disruptions.

Key measures announced:

◆ Financial support and stability:

The government will maintain the annual farming budget at £2.4 billion and introduce a £427 million grant to foster innovation and productivity.

The Seasonal Worker Visa Route will be expanded to ensure sufficient labour for the horticulture sector, addressing critical workforce shortages and supporting the timely harvest of crops.

◆ Boosting domestic production:

Significant investments will be made in high-tech, controlled environment horticulture to increase domestic fruit and vegetable production, reducing

dependency on imports.

A new framework for trade negotiations will be established to protect UK food standards and explore new export opportunities, ensuring British farmers can compete globally.

◆ Investment in innovation:

Up to £30 million will be allocated for precision breeding technologies to enhance crop yields and resilience, supporting the development of more robust and productive agricultural practices. Additional funding will support the adoption of renewable energy solutions on farms, promoting sustainability and reducing carbon footprints.

◆ Sustainable practices: Support will be given to regenerative farming practices and alternative protein sources, ensuring longterm sustainability and reducing the environmental impact of agriculture. Investments in seafood science and innovation will be made through the UK Seafood Fund, promoting sustainable fishing practices and enhancing the UK's seafood industry.

Prime Minister Sunak expressed: "British farmers have shown incredible resilience

in the face of recent challenges. Our commitment is to provide the necessary support to ensure their continued success and to strengthen our food security. By investing in innovation and sustainability, we can enhance our food security and showcase the best of British agriculture both at home and abroad."

NFU President Minette Batters praised the government’s recognition of the strategic importance of British agriculture, welcoming the new measures aimed at enhancing food production and sustainability. "These actions recognise the importance of coordinated action across government to support confidence, investment, and growth in British food," Batters stated.

The Fresh Produce Consortium (FPC) also welcomed the initiative. A spokesperson said: "We are positive about the opportunity to enhance UK fresh produce production and food security. This initiative reinforces the need for a balance of imports to meet the diverse eating habits of our nation."

These measures underscore the government's dedication to addressing the challenges facing the agricultural sector and ensuring a sustainable future for UK food production.

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Photo: flickr/Number 10 •

Insurance gears up to fight climate change

As vineyards tread carefully in response to adverse weather conditions, an innovative insurance solution provides protection.

The certain﬚ of uncertain weather trends

Volatile weather patterns have devastated vineyards across France and Germany recently, causing unexpected havoc and huge losses to wine producers. The impact of climatic shifts on grape cultivation is undeniable, with devastating hailstorms, like those that pummelled north Burgundy and Chablis, and sudden cold snaps with accompanying frosts in Germany, meaning decimated vineyards struggle to recover – and some producers face the grim prospect of losing entire crops.

Even regions traditionally spared from such extremes, like the UK, are not immune, as evidenced by the crippling frosts of May 2020 that slashed yields and threatened market growth in a growing industry.

This year, in Germany, vines were significantly ahead of their usual growth due to an unusually warm spring, but temperatures plummeted as low as -5°C towards the end of April, destroying much of the 2024 crop, with some areas experiencing upwards of 70% damage.

Despite attempts to mitigate the freeze with candles, the unexpected and widespread frosts left vineyards vulnerable, particularly in regions like Nahe and Baden.

In France, particularly in Cahors and the regions of Jura, Bugey, Savoie and Provence, significant losses resulted from similar frosts, with reports indicating up to 90% crop loss in Cahors – a devastating

torment – and heavy damage in other areas like Luberon, and certain parts of Alsace and Burgundy.

Grappling with the consequences

The consequences of these climatic upheavals of course extend far beyond the vineyards themselves, rippling through the entire wine production chain – from grape to bottle. Devastating losses to vineyards that can happen so suddenly – overnight, in most cases – set in motion a domino effect that not only this season’s crop will suffer from.

As such, the imperative for proactive risk management is starkly evident. If frost, hail and other perils are to continue threatening livelihoods for an industry with a rich and enduring heritage, the case for comprehensive insurance coverage grows ever stronger.

So, how can wine makers safeguard their livelihoods in the face of escalating climate risks?

The answer may be in a novel insurance solution designed to mitigate the impact of weather-related perils on vineyards and give owners greater control over the vagaries of Mother Nature.

Uncorking an innovative solution

Traditionally, insurance coverage for vineyards has fallen short, failing and provide an insight into the solutions that are available. ✉ phone-alt 01245 449060

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Ascend Broking Group Business Insurance Solutions Specialist insurance broker to the wine industry Ascend Broking, provide an insight to climate insurance solutions to the vineyard and wine production industry

to address the nuanced risks posed by climatic variability. What growers need, say experts, is a bespoke insurance offering tailored to the unique needs of each vineyard in every growing season.

Coverage against frost during the critical four-to-six week blooming season in April – to shield vineyards from the devastating impact of temperature fluctuations – is crucial. By leveraging index-based triggers tied to temperature thresholds, the ideal policy would ensure swift payouts when conditions meet predefined criteria – a fruitful way to offer financial certainty and resilience.

How would a policy like this work?

Yield protection coverage would involve an index cover set to the client-selected risk period and structured to pay out if temperatures drop below predefined thresholds. Before the cover starts, existing stations in the field vicinity or weather stations installed at agreed locations onsite would monitor local temperatures and set up a regulation system for an insurance payout grid.

Once cover starts, temperatures would then be monitored on a daily basis. If the temperature drops to a certain level, vineyard clients would receive a pre-determined percentage of the limit. If the temperature lowers even further, growers may find themselves receiving 100% of the limit. The client could also have shared access to all data, to use as a useful prevention tool – to anticipate frosts or other adverse conditions and prepare for them effectively.

The benefits of such a policy would extend beyond mere financial protection, too. If weather stations could provide real-time data access and a streamlined claims processing service, there would be no need for costly on-site assessments. Such a solution would enable vineyard owners to be reassured their vines are safeguarded against all climatic uncertainties without having to deal with undue administrative burden.

Disease mitigation could also be factored in. Vineyard owners could tailor their coverage to address their specific vulnerabilities, ensuring the continuity of their operations in the face of adversity.

As the wine industry grapples with the mounting threat of climate change, the need for proactive risk management has never been more pressing. Parametric insurance solutions, like the one described, offer a pathway to resilience, empowering vineyard owners to protect their crops and preserve their livelihoods in a worrying climate of erratic weather. And innovative solutions for the wine industry can only foster stability and continuity across its entire supply chain, safeguarding the fruits of labour for generations to come.

As the wine industry evolves, so too must its approach to risk management, ensuring a resilient and sustainable future for vineyards around the globe, whatever the weather.

Ascend Vineyard Protect has comprehensive and competitive insurance programmes specifically designed for the growing UK wine industry.

First ever Shropshire Wine Festival

What can be better than a glass of wine enjoyed right where the grapes were grown. That’s exactly what the first ever Shropshire Wine Festival is highlighting with events taking place over 11 days this month.

Shropshire Wine Festival Curator, Ed Thomas said: “The festival aims to celebrate all wines grown in and inspired by Shropshire. From the smallest vineyard to larger enterprises there is a passionate community of growers and wine makers who are ready and waiting to share their passion for wine during the festival, and all year round.”

Viticulture is England’s fastest growing agricultural sector and there are more and more vineyards popping up every year including right here in Shropshire. At the last count Shropshire’s combined vineyard extended to more than 25 hectares, that’s a lot of bottles of wine.

The festival takes place from 16-27 May with events taking place across the county. Wine lovers are able to enjoy a number of free and ticketed events:

◆ Colemere Vineyard is hosting tours and pop up bars on Sunday 19 May and Saturday 25 May.

◆ Hencote have tours available to book Thursday to Sunday.

◆ Colehurst Vineyard will be hosting free tastings every evening from Monday 20 May – Friday 24 May from 6-7pm at Jones’ Coffee in Market Drayton

◆ Kerry Vale Vineyard have tours, tastings and even a holiday cottage available to book on their website. The café is open Tuesday to Sunday.

◆ Rowton Vineyard will be at the Shrewsbury Farmers Market in the Square on Saturday 18 May, in the Taste the Shires’ tent at Shropshire Show on Saturday 25 May as well as hosting their Spring tasting on Wednesday 22 May

Shropshire Wine Festival is curated by local wine writer Ed Thomas and is supported by local vineyards and wine businesses.

Follow @shropshirewinefestival on Instagram.

Vineyard Vacations

For those travelling through the vineyards of England and Wales Vineyard Vacations - In The Counties of England and Wales provides insight into experiences where it is possible to sip fine wines and rest without a care about the drive home.

From hidden gems offering quaint B&Bs to those with chic glamping sites, this guide will introduce unique stays across England and Wales.

Written by Stewart Wilde, a Sheffielder by birth, who started out in an off-licence and developed his knowledge through experience and examination he has now become increasingly, and especially, interested in the blossoming English and Welsh wine industry.

Stewart has travelled widely in Western Europe, South America and New Zealand and has seen the emergence of ‘at vineyard’ hospitality in all these regions. He now concentrates on passing on that interest through talks, visits, and this book. He lives, with his wife Gill, in South-West London. This is his second book on English and Welsh vineyards and their wines. His first book Sparkling Wine was published in 2019.

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NIAB vine club launches for vineyard managers and staff

NIAB has launched a new membership service for UK vineyard managers and their staff. The NIAB Vine Club will bridge the gap between viticulture plant science and practical application, ensuring members will be the first to benefit from emerging, innovative research.

NIAB first established a research and demonstration vineyard at its East Malling site in Kent in 2015. Now led by viticulture and oenology research leader Dr Belinda Kemp NIAB is actively collaborating with the UK grape and wine industry to develop funding opportunities for new research. Early projects are beginning to take shape, with the NIAB Vine Club providing an opportunity for vineyard businesses to access results and information, putting the research into practice.

NIAB Vine Club membership is exclusive to UK vineyard staff, including managers and assistants. The annual subscription is £1,000 +VAT, with an introductory fee of £500 for 2024/25 season. Membership is individual and event attendance cannot be transferred.

Dr Kemp explains that the NIAB Vine Club has been set-up to help reach out to UK vineyard managers and staff. “We want to engage with industry, ensuring that all managers and staff feel involved and have the opportunity to influence the work that NIAB does to address UK vineyard research priorities.”

Exclusive membership benefits include

an invitation to the annual NIAB Vine Club Research Day, access to a members’ website presenting news and research updates, twice-yearly e-newsletters on UK cool climate viticulture practices and technology, an annual webinar, attendance of members-only Vine Club tours and visits organised by NIAB, and access to confidential scientific expert advice and guidance.

More information about the NIAB Vine Club, how to register for membership and the terms and conditions of membership is available on

Further NIAB grape and wine membership services will be launching in Summer 2024, including the Fizz Club UK, covering sparkling wines and the White and Red Club covering still wines.

Langham Wine Estate celebrates

This spring marks fifteen years since Langham Wine Estate planted its vineyard at Crawthorne Farm, near Dorchester, and to celebrate hosted a 15th Anniversary Party. They are also marking the occasion by planting a further 10 acres of vines, adding to the already established 75 acres.

Managing Director, Justin Langham, said: “I take immense pride in evolving what was once my father’s hobby into the thriving Langham Wine Estate we see today and I am truly delighted to see the estate reach this milestone.

“After visiting many of the world’s most regarded wine regions and having studied viticulture at Plumpton College, I decided to make my dream a reality. We planted 30 acres of vineyard in 2009 and have since expanded to 75 acres, with an additional 10 acres scheduled for planting this May. Behind our success lies a dedicated team whose passion and expertise produce the exceptional wines within our portfolio. I am very proud of what we have achieved so far.”

The dynamic winery team is led by Tommy Grimshaw. Not your traditional winemaker, Tommy has worked his way up from labelling wine when he left school after his first year of A Levels before breaking new ground as the UK’s youngest head winemaker when he was just 24 years old. Now 28, he continually strives to be creative in his winemaking, not bound by technical ‘rules’ with a focus on a low intervention approach, and the results he achieves are outstanding.

The winery makes wines which are not only recognised in this country but have also earned them the coveted Best Sparkling Wine Producer award at the International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC) in 2020.

Along with newly planted vines, 2024 has also seen Langham Wine Estate release its first still wine since 2020. The 2022 Chardonnay is named after ‘Search for Enlightenment’, a sculpture by Dorset-based sculptor Simon Gudgeon. This is the first wine from the estate to be bottled in reused glass bottles.

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The Wine Workers Collective

Uniting professionals at Vagabond London.

In a vibrant gathering, celebrating camaraderie and expertise, the Wine Workers Collective recently hosted its second annual social event at Vagabond Monument, drawing professionals from across the UK wine industry spectrum.

Founded in 2023 by Dona Frost (WineSkills Programme Manager at Plumpton College) and Megan Rayner-Ward (assistant winemaker at Wiston), the collective aims to foster connections and knowledgesharing among individuals holding various roles within the wine sector.

Attendees from every aspect of British winemaking and hailing from diverse regions including the south east, Essex, Bedfordshire, and Yorkshire, gathered at Vagabond Monument for an afternoon of networking and collaboration. Generously supported by Everflyht offering a welcome glass of Brut NV on arrival. The atmosphere buzzed with discussions spanning winemaking, cellar operations, vineyard management, hospitality, sales, and marketing.

Reflecting on the success of the event, Dona and Megan expressed gratitude to attendees and partners, emphasizing the collective's commitment to fostering a supportive environment for all British wine workers and enthusiasts.

For those eager to join the collective community or access its online forum via WineGB, inquiries can be directed to Additionally, updates and insights can be found by following the collective on Instagram at WineWorkersCollectiveUK. As the wine industry continues to evolve, initiatives like the Wine Workers Collective play a pivotal role in driving innovation and solidarity among its dedicated workforce.

Alice Griffiths

Alice Griffiths is a wine communicator boosting the profile of English and Welsh Wine on social media, under the popular handle of Posing With Alcohol. Alice has worked within the agriculture industry for the past 20 years, spending time as a lecturer and a smallholder before discovering her passion for viticulture, winemaking and wine tasting.

Get in touch to have your events featured: ✉

INSTAGRAM Alice can be found on social media under @posingwithalcohol on Instagram.

Al eGrif t h s

Additional space for new exhibitors

With an extra hall added to create additional space for new exhibitors at this year’s Vineyard & Winery Show, the organisers are pleased to report many new names are being added to the list.

Plans for this year’s Vineyard & Winery Show on 20 November 2024 are well underway and organisers Vineyard Magazine are delighted that a range of new exhibitors are attending the event on 20 November. Vivai Cooperativi Rauscedo , who were featured in the May edition of Vineyard will be exhibiting for the first time. One of the world’s largest vine suppliers, Vivai’s group of growers grow 80 million vines and supply 35 countries from their Italian vineyards with pioneering research to create disease resistant vines carried out at state-of-the-art facilities in Pordenone, just 70km from Venice. Vivai provide prospective customers with samples of wine that has been made from the new vines, ensuring that you really can try before you buy! Samples of their wines will be available to taste from their stand at the show, as well as in the newly created Piwi Wine tasting hub in the First Hall.

“As the show continues to expand, we are seeing more international exhibitors who are keen to support the UK industry with supplies and expert knowledge,” commented Jamie McGrorty, publisher of Vineyard Magazine. “This highlights how our growing industry is catching the attention of the wider international community. As our industry continues to grow at an astounding rate we can benefit more than ever from the knowledge of these companies who have such a long standing history,” added Jamie.

To aid growers who are interested in new varieties and Piwi wines, Defined Wine, contract wine makers and long term supporters of The Vineyard & Winery Show will be hosting a Piwi wine tasting session in the

afternoon. Sponsored by Oak Creative, Henry Sugden, CEO of Defined Wine will take growers and wine makers through a range of Piwi wines produced by Defined Wine, which will really highlight the amazing potential and show what is already being produced in the UK.

The additional space at this year’s show means that other new names have also been added that will be exhibiting for the first time, such as Glosrose Engineering who supply mechanical handling equipment including Manitou and Bobcat brands. Established 40 years ago and based only a short distance from the showground in Maidstone, the family business has extensive knowledge of all types of mechanical handling and construction equipment.

FGS Agri is another well-known company within the agricultural industry that will be exhibiting for the first time at the 2024 Vineyard & Winery show. Established 30 years ago as an agricultural contracting business offering a range services such as Farm & Estate Management and Utility contracting, in recent years the company launched FGS Organics, offering soil improvement solutions to enhance soil health and productivity, an area that is key to all vine growers.

Last but certainly not least in our announcements this month, Mobitech Lift Trucks will also be exhibiting for the first time with an impressive stand booked just inside the John Hendry Hall. A family run company established in 1986, their range of telehandlers and trucks are ideal for use in the vineyard, with brands such as Agrimac’s 4wd trucks, EP electric warehouse equipment and Goodsense Forklifts.

If any companies would like to exhibit and have not yet booked a space please contact: or telephone 01303 233883.

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FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT: For viticulturists in Great Britain For booking enquiries contact Jamie McGrorty 01303 233883 In association with 20th November 2024 Kent Event Centre, Detling, Maidstone, Kent ME14 3JF 2024 JOIN US IN 2024 Sponsored by Vitifruit Equipment Sales and Hire VineWorks has been supporting UK vineyards since Specialising Vineyard Vineyard Vineyard ONE VINE AT A TIME

A design for life

Spectacularly eye-catching bo﬙ les and brands whose contents stand up to forensic scrutiny.

This month’s article is wholly inspired by one man and an off-the-cuff comment at a wine tasting a couple of months ago. That man is Gareth Maxwell, self-titled Chief Hustler at the eponymous House of Maxwell. You cannot miss Gareth – he is an extremely snappy dresser. In fact, he pushes his look all the way to the edge, just stopping short of what one might call bespoke urban dandy, and he does it with genuine style and élan. He let me into a secret, which sits on this double page spread.

It is a wine that has been pushed all the way to the edge, just stopping short of what? I don’t know because this wine has not been made before. I have called this month’s column ’a design for life’. This is, of course, shameless pilfering from one of the greatest rock bands of our time, the Manic Street Preachers. I love this tune, and I play it a lot. I imagine that Gareth does, too, because he lives life like a rock star, bringing his brand of anthemic design to every project he undertakes.

The heretics is his most recent conception,

which has bolted way past the concept stage and now sits in a spectacularly beautiful and daringly designed bottle whose external packaging will read, ‘all the heroes of tomorrow are the heretics today’. This is incendiary stuff. It pushes our leaden-footed industry forward a decade in the blink of an eye.

It also made me think of a couple more wines and wineries with spectacularly eye-catching bottles and brands whose contents stand up to forensic scrutiny. It goes without saying that Gareth’s wine would not grace this hypercritical collection if it didn’t add up from a vinous perspective. It does. And this makes his particular vinous assault on our business all the more relevant.

I have yet to meet Jimmy Hunter, Gareth’s partner in this project, but if his creative credentials are anything to go by, he is a font of all design knowledge – Nicky Wire to Maxwell’s James Dean Bradfield, if you will. So, enough about these brave souls. Let me entertain you with this month’s trio – great taste, epic design, and devastating vision make these and just a handful of others the leaders of the pack!

2023 the heretics, Pale Rosé £29

If you can take your eyes off the packaging for a moment, which is hard, I know, consider just how ballsy the contents of this bottle are!

This is an elite quality, 100% barrel-fermented Pinot Noir Rosé that tastes so invigorating and elemental that I nearly dropped my glass. What makes it even more credible is that five days later, with no preservation system whatsoever, it was still blossoming and shapeshifting in the glass. This is not an easy wine to glug, nor is it meant to be. It is stunningly intense, bordering on the severe, and it will bring tears of both joy and, admittedly, some pain to everyone lucky enough to fall under its spell.

Delicately floral and dangerously raw, infinitesimally layered and fragilely crystalline, unnervingly stern and fleetingly exotic, this is a kaleidoscopically fascinating wine, and the finish alone takes you into next week. It probably won’t be at its peak for a couple of years, but that won’t stop like-minded heretics from plundering its contents on release.

I commend this wine to you. It is the most shocking and convincing debut launch of any English wine in my entire wine career.

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Mathe Juk e s

2018 Sugrue South Downs, Rosé Ex Machina



Ex Machina now slumbers in a gorgeous dark green bottle. I nearly did a backflip when I saw it.

I have been moaning about my hatred of clear glass bottles for decades and there are only a couple left to convert. That said, the augmented packaging and labels on Dermot and Ana’s range of wines are jaw-droppingly elegant. It’s strange because I feel that each label now ‘tastes’ like the wine inside the bottle – is this just me?

2018 Ex Machina is a shimmeringly beautiful 70% Pinot Noir, 20% Meunier and 10% Chardonnay blend with a 20% Pinot Noir red wine addition drawn from the Coldharbour Vineyard in West Sussex.

Dermot imbues a sense of occasion in his wines, matched only by the glorious vivacity in the glass. He wants you to work as hard as he has done, so the ride is not always straightforward. For example, I cannot imagine drinking a bottle in a park, and I am sure that the stern acid would make many blush.

This is wine design at its apogee, with a stern, genuinely pink palate standing tall under an expansive perfume. The finish rolls on for minutes, hoovering up moisture on your palate and planting wild strawberry plants in every empty taste bud. I love it!

If you want to line up a range of wines and then marvel at their uniqueness, apparent simplicity, and jaw-droppingly beautiful design, the Gusbourne range is the one to choose.

2022 Gusbourne, Guinevere


Timeless, elegant, and yet loaded with gravitas, these wines taste as incredible as they look. The current flight of new releases is tremendous, led by Guinevere’s extraordinary class and breeding.

This wine has long been the standard bearer for English Chardonnay, and even though new creations flood my tasting table, none come close.

2022 Pinot Noir (£40) shows trademark, smoky, hedgerow notes, with autumn leaves and lip-smacking red cherry bitterness. It’s lean, mineral-soaked, active and erudite. 2022

Pinot Meunier Mill Hill East Single Vineyard (£35) is a ripper with mulberries, blood and beetroot in enchanting harmony hints, and it reminds me of an unhinged Freisa with a rakish finish and accompanying rose petals and moments of Turkish Delight. Finally, 2019 Blanc de Blancs (£65) is as elegant and distinguished as any English Chardonnay, and this vintage is sleek, cool, ripe and flirtatiously forward behind the formal façade! As the back label notes, Gusbourne is on a continuing quest for perfection. It feels like it is nearing this destination.


Gusbourne Cellar Door and Nest members

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Petite but perfectly formed

The last ten miles of the drive to Brabourne Vineyard in Kent provided views of apple orchards, hop gardens, strawberries and of course vines. This scenic drive was also a passage through what can only be described as quintessentially English villages.

18 18 EDITOR'S VISIT Rebecca Fa er Ed i t o r
Photos: Martin Apps, Countrywide Photographic

Needless to say this journey built certain expectations and on arrival, witnessing the beauty of the vines mingled with the backdrop of the Grade II listed Court Lodge the first sensation is that this is a small but perfectly formed vineyard.

The two acres of vines are planted on a gently sloping site at the foot of the North Downs and have therefore all the benefits associated with this chalk seam that runs right through to Surrey. Planted in 2014 the vines are predominantly Pinot Noir with 10 rows of Chardonnay. This allows Brabourne vineyard to really focus on the grapes grown on this small plot and the versatility of the Pinot Noir grape gives them plenty of scope to make still and sparkling wines both white and rosé.

Paul and Hester Fenwick and their three children live on the eight acre site of Court Lodge in the village of East Brabourne.

Having previously been located in Sweden and then Switzerland they returned to the UK and looked for the perfect place to settle. It is easy to see how this site captured their heart. The couple were looking for a use for the land whilst Paul was working full time. “He would listen to farming today as part of his daily commute, which led to all sorts of suggestions, I think there might have even been snail farming,” said Hester with a laugh. It was vines however that ended up ticking all the boxes and Paul and Hester sought the help of a consultant.

Simon Day was willing to help the couple with the initial set up of the vineyard and Paul took an intensive course at Plumpton. James Dodson of VineWorks planted the vines and installed the trellis. After initially planning on training the vines on the Scott Henry system they found that this system would not be appropriate for their site as it did not allow

enough airflow. “Airflow on this site is vital, to control mildew,” Hester explained. “We originally had 4 canes per vine but after advice from Megan and Tim at Hutchinsons we have moved to a two cane system in a curved pattern to control vigour,” she continued. Paul and Hester are also very happy to have the help of Felicity Head who has been helping with pruning and other tasks in the vineyard. Hester emphasises how much she values the hard work that Felicity has undertaken.

When talking about pests and predators Hester explained: “We have a bird scarer that plays predator hunting calls but we have more problems from badgers especially along the margins where the hedges are.” However, the vines are trained slightly higher than is usual and this has proved quite useful as it means that the badgers are only able to reach the low hanging bunches. “We can literally tell how tall the badgers are,” joked Hester. <<

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Brabourne is mentioned in the Doomsday Book and the current house can be dated back to the 1700’s but probably sits on the site of a much older building. “It is a site that has over 1000 years of history,” said Hester. The nearby church dates from 1200 and has an original stained-glass window, one of the oldest surviving windows from this era. This window is the inspiration for the logo of Bradbourne. It has an elegant simplicity that is both appealing and is also a visual representation of the values of the business. The window has a note at the bottom that it was restored in 1851 and this also is a reflection of the life cycle of the site.

The site has buildings of varying ages and from 1945 until the 1970s was used as a market garden. There were three women involved in the enterprise including a Romanian Princess, Lady Charnwood and Carola Cochrane. “She was really ahead of her time, in a book that she wrote she is talking about making money on two acres of land and she mentions crop rotation and glass houses. I believe that produce from here even found its way to Buckingham Palace,” said Hester.

Now this site is once again producing award winning produce with the Sparkling Cuvée 2018 winning a silver medal at the WineGB awards. “We will wait to see what the 2024 WineGB awards will bring,” said Hester with a bright smile. The sparkling cuvée contains 35% Chardonnay and is described by Hester as a crowd pleaser. The vineyard is surrounded by award winning pubs that offer locals a chance to enjoy the wines. In fact, the closest pub The Five Bells was voted Kent pub of the year in 2019 and Daisy the vineyard dog has given her own seal of approval as she has walked herself there on the odd occasion.

For a small vineyard the wines produced are both varied and, in some instances, rather unusual. Alongside the Sparkling Cuvée the current wines also include a still rosé and a sparkling rosé both of which are 100% pinot Noir.

From the 2023 harvest there will be a Chardonnay and a still Pinot wine released. “Our 2023 season was saved by the weather in September which was as high as 30°C,” Hester explained. From the 2020 harvest both a Blanc de Noirs and a Blanc de Blancs are currently on lees and should be released in 2025.

The wines are made at Oxney Organic which is located only 25 miles away. The current winemaker at Oxney is Salvatore Leone and his experience and advice is useful in September when the grapes are coming to ripeness. “The vineyard is slightly higher than some of the other vineyards in the area and therefore we are usually about

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For independent advice on:  Interpretation of soil and tissue  Formulation of nutrient programmes  Supply of tailor-made products  General agronomic advice 01630 639875 07713 632347 1a. Garden City Tem Hill Market Drayton Shropshire TF9 3QB John Buchan AGRONOMY LTD Vinenutrition: The balancing act For independent advice on:  Interpretation of soil and tissue  Formulation of nutrient programmes  Supply of tailor-made products  General agronomic advice 01630 639875 07713 632347 1a. Garden City Tem Hill Market Drayton Shropshire TF9 3QB John Buchan AGRONOMY
Vinenutrition: The balancing act JUNE 2024 | VINEYARD
Hester Fenwick
For a small vineyard the wines produced are both varied and, in some instances, rather unusual

two weeks behind,” said Hester. This means that frost is not usually a problem at the vineyard and also works well for the contract winemaker in terms of capacity and space. “The nail-biting part of our season comes towards the end as we see what September and October weather does for the disease pressure,” said Hester. The small boutique nature of the vineyard allows the wines produced to be fruit led and to change according to the harvest.

As anyone in the industry would agree the weather is so crucial to the success of a vintage. The vineyard picked its first harvest in 2017 and then with refreshing honesty Hester explained that in 2018 they had seriously underestimated the fruit that would be produced so not all of this bumper crop was harvested. At the opposite end of the spectrum “2021 was a disaster with only 700kg of fruit which was only one tenth of the 7-8 tonnes that are usually harvested,” she explained.

Harvest at Brabourne is a family affair with Paul and Hester’s three teenage children getting involved alongside local members of the community. All the pickers are paid for the hours they pick. “The local community have really embraced the picking spirit and return year after year. They are now really skilled at selecting only the clean fruit which ensures the quality of the wine,” said Hester with warmth in her voice.

There is a plan for the vineyard to join with Gnina Balchin from In The Loop Drinks based in Sussex to produce a limited edition Bradbourne Vermouth using some of the other botanicals that are grown at Court Lodge. There is plenty of choice including pumpkins, cherries, berries, 30 varieties of apples and pears, as well as lavender and the heavily cropping fig trees that give their name to the holiday cottage which is regularly rented out to both domestic and international tourists. The location with its proximity to Dover (ferry) and Folkestone (train) makes Fig Cottage ideally suited to visitors from The Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. “Some of the visitors are really pleased to be located on a vineyard. The cottage is available on a rental site but we are getting more bookings referred through the vineyard website,” explained Hester. All the holiday guests receive a welcome pack which includes all locally sourced produce and of course a bottle of Brabourne Wine. This is a great way to engage with visitors and such a nice touch. It also highlights an attention to the small details that are visible everywhere at Brabourne from the labelling to the vine covered walkway complete with solar powered

fairy lights that travels through the centre of the vines.

In addition to the holiday accommodation Brabourne Vineyard also offers wine tours and tastings by appointment. “It was not initially something that we had considered but the first Sparkling wine had launched in 2020 right in the middle of various Covid-19 lockdowns, and it was difficult to find trade customers willing to try something new,” explained Hester. “Then we received a number of enquiries from people wanting to visit the vineyard,” she continued.


• 30+ years of experience in UK viticulture and winemaking,

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Daisy Rolo

Visitors and especially children are in for a surprise when they come across the rare breed chickens, ducks and geese

The result is the current tasting room located in a genuine WWII Nissen Hut. Aside from being a fantastic way to bring new life to yet another piece of history the building in the middle of the vines offers an exceptionally perfect setting for people to enjoy the relaxed and beautiful atmosphere of the vineyard whatever the British weather may bring. “The tours are offered to small groups and appeal to a broad range of people. One aspect that is particularly important to Hester is the ability to explain the different production methods for sparkling wine. “I explain that we do not compete on volume so we focus on quality,” she said.

With Paul working full time alongside holding the spraying qualifications for the vineyard and with Hester running the holiday cottage and the tours and tastings as well as raising three teenagers it would seem that life is incredibly hectic for the couple at Brabourne vineyard but this has not stopped them from thinking ahead. This year Brabourne will hold its first wedding with outside catering and the fairytale venue with the central vine covered avenue will truly make for a special location for a special day. In the future Hester is also looking to provide some form of food offering such as charcuterie and cheese platters to accompany the tours and has received levelling up funding to provide a handwashing station.

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Visitors and especially children are in for a surprise when they come across the rare breed chickens, ducks and geese that are also part of this Vineyard enterprise. Buff Orpingtons and Gold Lace Orpingtons alongside Silver Appleyard ducks are all housed in an enclosed pen to protect them from predators. “I love it when we are holding a tasting and there are children in the party and I am able to tell them to have a look along the path and see if they can find some chickens and ducks. Even some of the adults have not seen chickens that are the size of the Orpingtons,” said Hester. The Orpington breed is not only strongly linked to Kent but also holds sentimental value for Hester as it was a breed that her grandmother had kept in the past.

This is also one of the few places in the country to see West of England Geese since the numbers of these birds nationally have been reduced to between 100-200. Whilst the rare breeds are not run through the vineyard there are at certain times of the year legbar chickens to be found wandering among the vines.

Brabourne Vineyard are not part of any certified schemes but they are working hard to incorporate practices that are better for the environment and the vines. The Chardonnay vines are mulched with sheep wool and Light brown apple moth is currently under control using early trap methods. There is native hedging that includes sloes and hazelnuts that feed the wild bird populations and there is currently

Brabourne Vineyard are not part of any certified schemes but they are working hard to incorporate practices that are better for the environment and the vines

a plan to dig a large pond on the site. “Natural England want to create a network of ponds in this area and the pond here will be 150m2,” explained Hester. A pond of this size will significantly improve the biodiversity of the site at Brabourne and Hester is looking forward to watching the increase in the local wildlife.

The vineyard although small has multiple ways to enhance the surroundings. Being so connected to the history of the site has meant that Hester and Paul are passionate about taking care of the Grade II listed building and the surrounding land. It feels Brabourne Vineyard is part of a bigger canvas that has been painted across the centuries and ensuring the land continues to be used and cultivated keeps the story of the site alive. Producing award winning wines on this site is a fitting twist to the story.

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Delving into the hidden Botrytis threats

Botrytis bunch rot can cause

serious damage to grapes in the run up to harvest, but the infection process begins much earlier in the season.

Understanding the pathogen is key to effective control, as Hutchinsons agronomist Rob Saunders explains.

Botrytis is an opportunistic pathogen that usually needs some sort of injury to act as an entry point for infection.

Wounds and natural fissures in ripening grapes during late summer are an obvious route, but perhaps less well understood is the infection that can occur around flowering and lay dormant within developing bunches until later in the year.

This latent infection usually expresses itself once conditions become conducive, but in some seasons, such as when conditions are warm and dry, latent infection may be present, but symptoms never actually show. Predicting that far ahead is impossible, so it is important to understand the risks and manage them accordingly.

Flowering infection

Flowering is the main period when latent infection occurs, primarily through Botrytis cinerea spores entering the scar tissue left when the flower cap (calyptra) detaches, exposing the male (stamen) and female (pistil) parts of the flower for pollination.

While the ovule then becomes infected, the pathogen cannot colonise surrounding green tissue due to the high concentration of anti-microbial chemicals (stilbenes). Infection therefore remains “hidden” in a latent state within the developing berry, effectively inactive without vines expressing any symptoms, until conditions favour the disease. This usually occurs after veraison, when the vine’s natural defences start to decline, sugar content within ripening berries increases, and skins become thinner. Wet, warm conditions further increase the risks of latent disease finally expressing itself.

Risk factors

Botrytis spores are almost always present in vineyards, spreading in the air, by insect vectors and rain splash. The optimum temperature for spore germination is around 18-21°C, although research shows some can germinate below 10°C or above 30°C. Surface moisture is essential though, which can be provided by rain, dew, mist, fog, or even just very high humidity.

The risk of latent infection occurring is far greater when flowering is protracted, particularly in warm and wet conditions. Such situations may also result in infected flower parts becoming lodged within developing bunches, potentially posing another infection point as the season progresses.

Although plant pathologists can test for latent infection by using agar plates to grow any fungal spores present in prepared tissue samples, commercial testing to assess hidden risk is not yet available. Growers must therefore evaluate underlying risks and protect crops accordingly.

Protecting crops

There are several ways vines and developing bunches can be protected from latent infection.

Applying Botryticides at key points through the flowering window is an effective way of protecting the fresh calyptra scars when they are most susceptible, but as ever, product choice and timing is key.

Depending on the duration of flowering, a two-spray strategy is common, although three may be necessary if flowering is very protracted, so it is important to use a range of actives and modes of action for resistance

management. The main options include pyrimethanil, fenhexamid, and cyprodinil + fludioxonil.

Pyrimethanil is generally best reserved for late flowering or early fruitlet timing, as it can move within the plant tissue and arrest any latent infection already established in the berry, resulting in measurable reductions in laccase levels in the juice – a key indicator of fungal infection.

Kresoxim-methyl and tebuconazole also offer a moderate amount of Botrytis activity control, but should generally only be used in low-risk situations.

Managing canopies to improve airflow and reduce the chances of creating a favourable microclimate for fungal development is key to managing diseases, including Botrytis, while bunch thinning also helps. Spatially separating bunches reduces the chances of infection spreading from one bunch to the other later in the season.

It is also important to minimise the risk of any other forms of damage that could act as potential portals for Botrytis infection. This includes scarring caused by thrips on the surface of embryonic berries, fissures associated with early powdery mildew infection, or physical damage to the surface of berries during de-leafing, for example. Finally, don’t forget about the importance of optimising nutrition to improve vine health. In particular, ensuring good calcium supply can help reduce Botrytis prevalence by improving the robustness of cell walls and berry skins. While it is rare to find calcium deficiency in the leaf, availability can be lower when transpiration is reduced, such as in cold, or very dry, drought conditions.

DESKTOP ✉ phone-alt 01945 461177 26 26
RobS nders

Things aren’t easy right now. But you can sure to minimise risks to your profits so that you can work towards a great end-result.

We’ve a wide portfolio to help you manage key disease threats, particularly downy mildew, with specialist vine fungicides Cuprokylt and Frutogard. There are also EAMU options for powdery mildew, Botrytis and more. And you’ve the support you need: our horticulture and viticulture team can provide expert advice, not just on products, but effective IPM. It’s all in our comprehensive guide. Rely on it for valuable solutions at any time. Get your vine-growers’ guide at

Grow a
this year, with our help to control diseases.
Use plant protection products safely. Always read the label and product information before use. For further information with regard to the warning phrases and symbols refer to the product label. Cuprokylt® (MAPP 17079) contains copper oxychloride and is a registered trademark of Industrias Quimicas Del Valles, S.A. Frutogard® (MAPP 19105) contains potassium phosphonate and is a registered trademark of Certis Belchim BV. Vintec® (MAPP 20311) contains Trichoderma atroviride strain SC1 and is a registered trademark of Bi-PA NV/SA. Amylo-X® (MAPP 17978) contains Bacillus amyloliquefaciens subsp. plantarum strain D747 and is a registered trademark of Mitsui AgriScience International S.A./N.V. Cosine® (MAPP 16404) contains cyflufenamid and is a registered trademark of Nippon Soda Co. Ltd. Karma® (MAPP 16363) contains potassium hydrogen carbonate and is a registered trademark of Certis Belchim BV. Contact Certis Belchim on 0845 373 0305, e-mail or visit © Certis Belchim 2024 Successful vine-growing Your guide to tackling pests and diseases CUPROKYLT® FRUTOGARD® VINTEC® AMYLO-X® COSINE® KARMA®

Secure your crop against damaging wet weather diseases

In any given year, the three major vine diseases can wipe out an entire crop if left unmanaged. Here, Vineyard magazine gets some advice on controlling downy mildew and Botrytis this season, helping to avoid the losses experienced in 2023.

Vine growers should take no chances with downy mildew and Botrytis this season, with correct fungicide choices applied well and at the right time key to keep the door shut on both pathogens.

In the UK’s maritime climate vine growers are up against it, as mild and wet conditions encourage downy mildew, an enemy that can lead to total crop loss when infection occurs during flowering.

This is compounded by the fact that many of the traditional grape varieties grown here, such as Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, are highly susceptible to the disease.

Agrii’s viticulture specialist Julian Searle said downy mildew infection crept in late last season, perhaps after growers believed the risk was over, and showed how problematic it can be.

That is why he considers RIMpro’s downy mildew model as a very important management tool for growers, as it provides a quantitative

risk assessment across the season and can help avoid such oversight. He added that knowing the key stages when the crop is most at risk, and ensuring there is adequate protection at those times, are also vital to avoiding any yield loss.

Susceptible periods

The downy mildew pathogen survives in the soil and leaf litter as oospores. When wet weather and temperatures above 10°C arrive in the spring, it triggers the germination of zoospores that infect the new and rapidly developing crop canopy.

This tends to happen from mid-May onwards and Julian said the most susceptible period will be the weeks leading up to flowering and the flowering period itself.

“About six or seven weeks after flowering, there is less risk to the

Julia n Sear Agrii f r u i t a g monor

fruit as it toughens, but if the crop is moving through the phenological stages slowly, crops can be susceptible for a week to 10 days longer than expected,” he explained.

Julian believes that is what happened in 2023, with growers believing crops were over the worst risk only for infection to arrive suddenly in the middle of August.

“The criteria for a downy mildew infection event are quite complex, so using models is the best way to assess risk at those times and ensures you maintain protection when it is needed,” he explained.

With Botrytis, greatest infection risk is at flowering and fruit set, then at pre bunch closure, where detritus from flowers can stick within the bunch and provide a source of Botrytis infection.

Botrytis risk then recedes until veraison, the period when carbohydrates in the grapes are converted into sugars.

During this time, the fruit swells and creates pressure within the bunch, which can cause berries to split or become loose at the stalk end, providing an access point for disease.

“Here in the UK, this tends to occur in September and fruit isn’t harvested until October, when there is a lot of damp weather and relateively warm temperatures, so conditions for disease are almost perfect.

“It’s important to maintain protection with fungicides right up to picking,” he explained.

Programmed approach

For downy mildew control, the most successful growers take a programmed approach, applying a fungicide every seven to 14 days, depending on crop growth stage and disease pressure, as dictated by models.

Products with activity on Botrytis can then be dropped into the mix during susceptible periods throughout the season.

Julian said that utilising biological products that help reinforce the plant’s own defence mechanisms is important early in the programme, with Frutogard a good example.

It works in three ways against downy mildew. First, it provides a


To find out more about powdery mildew and other diseases and pests of vines and their management and control, download a pdf of Certis Belchim’s Successful vine-growing recently updated for 2024 which is available at

physical barrier against the pathogen through the formation of callus. Second, its algae extract offers some anti-microbial effect.

Finally, the main active, potassium phosphonates, promotes the synthesis of defence proteins within the plant, providing resistance to the disease.

Agrii has been working with Plant Health Care to develop its harpin protein products for vines, and the foliar spray Innocul8 – which contains zinc, manganese, and peptides – also helps to build natural tolerance to disease when used early in the programme.

“When considering conventional fungicides, during periods of high disease pressure we are ideally tank mixing a protectant material with something with a little bit of curative activity, then rotating those modes of action through the season,” he explained.

Conventional products with activity against downy mildew include Percos (ametoctradin + dimethomorph), Shinkon (amisulbrom), Option (cymoxanil), Karamate (mancozeb) and SL 567 A (metalaxyl-M).

Julian said: “Copper oxychloride product Cuprokylt is an effective material on downy mildew and is a useful inclusion throughout a programme as an anti-resistance strategy.”

He added that the formulated potassium bicarbonate product Karma is another product that shouldn’t be underestimated in its importance.

“It’s one of the few eradicant products we have. If you have an outbreak of powdery mildew, downy mildew or Botrytis, a couple of back-to-back applications and you would find that it clears things up.

“It’s a clever formulation and unlike commodity substance, it doesn’t need anything else with it, as it has its own wetting system. Its rate of 5kg/ha in water volume of 500L/ha is about the right concentration as well,” he explained.

Useful biologicals

A final consideration for fungicide programming is covering Botrytis risk and Julian stressed the importance of getting something robust on vines at pre bunch closure to prevent infection developing within the bunch.

“Later, during veraison, biorational products are useful due to their short pre-harvest interval,” he added, with Amylo X (Bacillus amyloliquefaciens D747) and Botector (Aureobasidium pullulans strain DSM 14940 and Aureobasidium pullulans strain DSM 14941) key.

“Both are active on Botrytis and we have Amylo X that will have a go at powdery mildew in organic programmes, too,” he explained.

Alex Cooke, technical account management for horticulture at Certis Belchim, adds that when using biorational products, application quality is key to getting the most out of products like Karma and Amylo X.

“Often, biorational products are contact-acting and rely on good coverage of the plant to be most effective. That makes correct sprayer set up and water rate critical,” he noted.

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The next generation farm management system set to launch

Hutchinsons announced the launch of the next generation farm management system which will be a significant advancement to their Omnia digital farming program. The event was held at The Frameless Gallery in London which proved the perfect location to highlight just how impressive modern technology can be.

The truly immersive event made use of the state of the art setting to allow those in attendance to literally be dazzled by the easy to use new features of the program. Nick Rainsley, Hutchinsons head of marketing opened the event explaining that the upgrade to Omnia will be a significant step forward allowing precision technology to seamlessly improve the business lives of the nation’s food and wine producing farmers. The ease of use of the program that was displayed to those in attendance belies the obvious effort that has been included in the development of the new features.

Since 2016 the Omnia digital farming system has been steadily moving forward and has always been focussed on what the 4000 users who farm 1.5 million hectares need from their data collection technology. Gordon McKechnie, managing director, Hutchinsons explained that one of the driving factors in the development of the Omnia upgrade was to put greater

focus on what can be done with data and how this can help farmers and growers increase profitability and production. It does this whilst simultaneously helping to mitigate the negative effects of climate change by allowing data analytics to inform the implementation of sustainable farming practices.

A main theme of the presentation highlighted that the new features have been developed to fill the needs of farmers, growers and specialists who will use the technology –influenced by a farmer focus group, an agronomist focus group and spray operators across Great Britain. Some of the requests from users include the “ability to use the platform for financial reporting” and to “use Omnia as a one port of call.” One farmer explained that he wanted the program to be a guide that is specific to individual fields and there has been an exponential effort by the team developing the technology to ensure that it can achieve all of this and still maintain its ease of use.

Oliver Wood, head of Omnia, explained

that with this upgrade Omnia is now sitting centrally to provide a single platform that can genuinely solve the problems of the modern farm “although not the rain,” he joked. On why this move had been made he said: “We are a relatively small market in terms of the global technology players.” Hutchinsons therefore have made the brave move to create a system specifically designed to be used for farming in Great Britain.

Functionality will provide complete digital traceability, one of the new features is the new spray module which has integrated core data from the food and environment research agency which will allow spray plans to be checked for compliance with current legislation and when non-compliance is detected a warning and explanation is provided. It was explained by Lewis McKerrow, Hutchinsons digital farming manager, that this will even check compliance across wider periods of time. “For example some products have a three year maximum loading and the new system will find that,” he said.

Astoundingly there will be no extra charges for the new program applications and it will operate at the same service level prices that are currently available. The system will go live on the 7 June with the Hutchinsons stand at the Cereals arable event on 11-12 June dedicated to the new Omnia EasyPlan Upgrade.

It was clear that this launch is just the beginning and that Hutchinsons have no intention of standing still with this new precision technology – it will continue to grow and adapt just like the industry it has been designed to support. For more information contact Hutchinsons.

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Managing your couldn’t be easier Increase your Save time A British system for British farmers productivity, sustainability and accuracy #OmniaYesYouCan Omnia with EasyPlan upgrade

PiWi potential

The future of fungus-resistant grapes in UK vineyards.

The 2024 UK vineyard planting season is drawing to a close. While most new vines ordered continue to be Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, there is an ever-increasing proportion of PiWis being put into the ground. PiWi is short for the German term PilzWiderstandsfähig, translated as fungus resistant.

Last year, VineWorks planted a cumulative total of over 270,000 PiWi vines, the equivalent of almost 60 hectares. Seyval Blanc and Solaris are the most planted PiWis in the UK, but we are seeing an increasing interest in Cabaret Noir, Divico, and Sauvignac. This mirrors developments in many European countries. Bordeaux and Champagne have approved PiWis/cépages résistants (Floréal, Sauvignac, Souvignier Gris and Vidoc Noir in Bordeaux, and Voltis in Champagne) to overcome the specific challenges they face, while in Germany, the area planted with PiWis has increased by 355% in five years to 507 hectares.

While the number of spray applications in the UK will be considerably fewer than for the commonly planted Champagne varieties, PiWis will require the same level of attention in all other aspects – pruning, canopy and yield management and vineyard

floor management. What they do offer are lower spray costs, reduced risk of yield lost to disease, and in some cases, higher potential yields to begin with.

Winemaking potential

One key area where there are many unanswered questions is winemaking as the level of knowledge of traditional grapes, accumulated over centuries, is simply lacking with new varieties. Commercialisation on a serious scale is only just beginning with premium producers in Europe now planting PiWis in their most desirable sites.

It is fair to say that everyone is learning, but the initial signs are encouraging.

Gareth Davies of Divergent Wines, the producer of Fitz, said: “We’ve been working with Cabaret Noir since I stumbled upon the varietal in 2018. We now have some planted with our vineyard partner, Heartenoak, with the first fruit coming off in 2022. Perfectly clean, with fairly compact bunches and small berries, giving a great skin to pulp ratio –you can really see the Cabernet Sauvignon parentage.”

While varietal wines and single vineyard bottlings are popular trends, we should also consider wines that are based on blends.

In Champagne, Voltis, a PiWi variety, has been approved to comprise up to 10% of the final blend. In Bordeaux, PiWis have been approved for planting, to form parts of blends as the region adapts to climate change.

As well as earlier ripening varieties, some PiWis can potentially be harvested later due to their lower susceptibility to Botrytis, increasing their suitability for still wines.

Martin Vickers said: “At Halfpenny Green we have recently made some outstanding wine from Cabaret Noir for one of our contracts. We believe this variety ticks all the boxes for sustainability in that it needs almost no fungicides, crops, and ripens adequately and is very marketable. Sauvignac I feel is in exactly the same category for white wines… From all aspects I feel PiWis are the future, alone or as a blending tool.”

The benefit of being a new winemaking region is the scope for innovation, and at VineWorks we are excited to play a role in the fast-evolving area of PiWis. We work closely with vine nurseries and clients to select the best PiWi and rootstock combinations for new vineyard plantings.

Sam Middleton is a Junior Viticulturist with VineWorks and former winner of the Vine Grower of the Year Award.

Learn more about PiWis

◆ Pigott, S. & Redes Sidore, P., PiWis are the Next-Gen Grapes, Wine Industry Advisor, 7 Nov 2024.

◆ Middleton, S., Disease Resistant Grapevines for UK Vineyards - Vine Grower of the Year 2019 research report,, April 2024

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S Middleton l t u r i s t
Photo: Daria Szotek, VineWorks 2023

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Finding the right site

Of all the decisions that have to be taken in order to plant a vineyard, finding the right site for your enterprise is undoubtedly the hardest, the most expensive and the one that can never be changed. Oh and I forgot to mention, the one that probably has more influence on deciding the quality and quantity of the wine being produced than any other. And as other countries have shown, exact location makes a lot of difference.

Great Britain of course has not been growing vines for that long, a bare 80 years since the first vines of the modern era were planted at Hambledon, and only 50 years since people seriously started planting Chardonnay, Meunier and Pinot noir. Today, these three varieties account for a shade under 70% of all English and Welsh vineyards.

We are in essence a very young industry. Our experience therefore of how different varieties perform on different sites and soils, in terms of both quality and quantity, is necessarily limited. In many cases it is based upon anecdotal evidence and not backed up by reliable data on yields, grape quality, wine quality or wine price, the four elements that together allow one to gauge the suitability of a particular block of land. Therefore our starting point of saying this land is worth so much and that land is worth less (or more) is one of relative ignorance. However, not total ignorance, and there are definite trends appearing which show where growers believe the best place is to plant vineyards for good English wines.

Where to buy

The question of where to plant vineyards is full of inconsistencies. With over 1,100 individual vineyards in Great Britain, and with 1,100 different owners making decisions about where they want to live, work, and run a business, there is always going to be good reasons why you fancy Cornwall rather than Essex, or Kent rather than Gloucestershire. However, what the numbers show is a definite trend for the bigger and what one might call the more ‘commercial’ growers (although anyone that sells wine is in my book commercial), to be located towards the south east of the country. Of the 4,250-ha (10,502-acres) currently on my database for the whole of GB, 2,417-ha (5,972-acres) or 57% is in the south east, with Kent having 1,293-ha (3,195-acres) of vineyards, West Sussex next with 557-ha (1,376-

acres) and East Sussex following with 429-ha (1,060-acres). For those who have vineyards in this part of the country, the reasons are obvious.

The Garden of England has been growing fruit since Roman times and its dry, chalky North Downs slopes provide free-draining, sheltered and largely frost-free sites for both good still and sparkling wines. The region is also close to the major market of London, and with good (and improving) access, is ideal for wine tourism, something Kent County Council is eager to support and promote. Kent is also the home to several of the country’s major producers: Balfour, Chapel Down, Evremond, Gusbourne, MDCV, Simpsons, Squerryes, Yotes Court and a new 40-ha (100-acres) sparkling wine vineyard at Old Wives Lees, near Canterbury. Nyetimber, whilst West Sussex based, also have 187-ha (463-acres) out of their 424-ha (1,048acres) in Kent. This gives the county and the south east in general a critical mass that other regions cannot match. Taken together I estimate there is close to 1,000-ha (2,500-acres) planted on the North Downs chalk.

The other ‘dry’ county in the south east is Essex, whose vineyards and wines used to be a bit overlooked, but today, with Danbury Wine Estates leading the way with their still wines, and the purchase by Jackson Family Wines of a block of land to plant, the county seems to be taking off viticulturally speaking and will surely expand. However, the county is currently still small, and only has 404-ha (998-acres) of vineyards, around 9.5% of the GB total.

Of course, the south east is certainly not the only place to grow grapes and make wine in GB, but the further west you go, the more difficult it gets. Research shows that crops are smaller, and more variable, and gold medals less awarded than in the more easterly regions. But of course there any many other factors that determine whereabouts a vineyard is based. Wine tourism is most definitely on the increase and with the west country a very popular place for tourists and second-home owners, the pleasures of buying local and selling direct without a middle-man taking half the margin might well make up for any shortfalls in performance.

Wine Growing in Great Britain – Second edition is an A to Z of growing vines in the UK

For anyone contemplating planting and establishing a vineyard in the UK, and for those already growing vines on a small scale who perhaps wish to expand their vineyards and improve their winegrowing skills, it will be invaluable. It will also be of interest to students of viticulture. Wine Growing in Great Britain covers not only the viticultural tasks involved, but also, uniquely, the finances of UK wine growing: land costs, vineyard establishment and management costs and the income from both grape sales and wine sales.

Available from: Amazon and World of Books

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St hen SkeltonM

How to buy

Of course, knowing what you want and finding it, let alone finding that it’s for sale, is another matter and for this reason alone, it’s no good just looking in estate agent’s windows, trawling their websites, or even subscribing to more specialised property-finder type websites in the hope that something comes up.

Many buyers, especially those looking for larger sites where the land is the most important factor, and the accommodation is of less (or even no) importance, are best advised to approach a land agent who is involved with farmers, growers and estate owners in the area they are searching in and see if they can help find a suitable site. Land agents, apart from buying and selling land, are involved with their clients in many different ways. There are rents and leases to advise on and draw up; there are negotiations between landlords and tenants to facilitate so that both parties are happy; there are annual valuations of growing crops to undertake; and there is the business of inheritance planning which every farmer has to face sooner or later.

In short, land agents get to know far more about their clients and their businesses than a regular estate agent just selling houses. This knowledge enables them to identify farmers who might be open to selling a relatively small piece of land if the price is right. Of course, this type of expertise is not free and a property-finder service from a reputable land agent can cost anywhere between 2% and 3.5% of the purchase price, depending on the complexity of the search and the eventual deal. However, the difference between paying say £37,000 per hectare (£15,000-acre) and not finding what you want and say £38,000-ha (£15,500-acre) and finding exactly what you want is huge. National land agents such as Knight Frank, Savills and Strutt & Parker, plus more south east based ones such as BTF Partnership near Canterbury, and CLM in East Sussex all have significant experience in vineyards.

Land prices

Ten years ago in 2014, when I wrote and published the first edition of Wine Growing in Great Britain, the price for ‘bare’ arable land i.e. no buildings or accommodation, in the south-east was around £20,000-ha (£8,000-acre). Higher prices for vineyard land had been paid – in 2009

Nyetimber paid £40,000-ha (£16,000-acre) for 30-ha of prime chalk land near Stockbridge, but whilst this particular deal didn’t seem to shift the price dial at the time, it must have had an almost subconscious influence on land agents, as within a few years, prices started to rise.

By 2012-14, when several new vineyards were established in Kent, the ‘going rate’ for south-facing chalk land had crept up and people were starting to talk about £25,000-ha to £36,000-ha (£10,000-acre to £14,500-acre) as the ‘going rate’ for really good vineyard land. Today, one hesitates to predict what the price of a really good vineyard site might be. In the south east, there is certainly vineyard land that has been sold for double those prices and one imagines that it could still go higher. Jackson Family Wines, the latest overseas wine company to invest in Britain when they bought 26-ha (64-acres) of land in the Crouch Valley, in south Essex, are rumoured to have paid a sum per acre that I dare not print for fear of looking a fool. If true, then it certainly marks this area out as a place where people really want to grow grapes which will put a smile on the faces of the owners of the 250-ha (618-acres) of vineyards already planted there. Of course, prices for vineyards where Jacksons own their other 5,666-ha (14,000-acres) of vineyards will in many instances be many times higher than their Essex purchase. In California, where they own twenty-eight of their forty wineries, prices will probably be many times higher.

Already planted vineyards of course are priced to consider several factors. The costs of planting and establishment must be taken into account and to get a vineyard into full cropping, say by year four, the costs will be around £50,000-ha (£20,000-acre). The quality of the site is also a very important factor in pricing existing vineyards. What’s the site like? South-facing, freedraining, no higher than 100m above sea level and well planted with good trellising? Has it been well looked after, especially with regard to the pruning and training? And what are the varieties and how’s the quality of the fruit and wine that’s been coming off the site? If all these boxes are positive, then taken together with the land value, you might be looking at a price of at least £120,000-ha (£48,500-acre) for something really attractive.

Whilst this might sound impossibly high, one needs to remember that a hectare of planted land in the best part of Champagne will be at least €1.5 million per hectare (£530,000-acre) and possibly as much as €2 million per hectare. That makes GB vineyards in the best spots look almost cheap!


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Contracting out any stage may appeal

The rate of new vineyard plantings in the UK shows no signs of abating. Globally the English sparkling wine category is judged to be on a long-term growth trajectory.

A year ago some media commentators questioned whether the rush to capitalise on the popularity of English wine would lead to an oversupply issue. But in reality, some producers report being unable to meet demand at home. Others are seeing potential for further growth in exports. Oversupply doesn’t seem to be a problem that faces the industry just yet.

Increasing production volumes as new vine plantings reach maturity may push some producers to the brink of capacity in their own wineries. This will encourage the contract wine market to expand and evolve. Contracting out any stage of the winemaking process may hold appeal to growers for several reasons.

◆ New growers might seek a way to delay a significant initial capital outlay on their own winery set up as their business, and their vineyards, become established. This kicks problems like planning permission and waste management into the long grass too.

◆ Increasingly, winegrowers can build a brand without having a winery at all thanks to the high levels of quality and technological sophistication available through contractors.

◆ An established vineyard may find their winery is simply not big enough to accommodate an increasing volume of fruit at harvest time.

◆ Contract wineries are likely to have access to winemakers of significant experience.

It doesn’t have to be an “all or nothing” approach. Naturally, contractors offer a full service where they receive the grapes and return filled, labelled bottles. But it is also possible to engage their services for a discrete part of the process. For sparkling wines, it may be convenient to have wines riddled and disgorged at another facility. Smaller wineries may not have access to riddling lines with fill height detection, for example, so by contracting this section of the process out there could be an improvement in the quality and consistency of the finished products. Choosing to have wines stored off site may also be a valuable option for businesses to deploy. Contractors usually have temperature controlled storage to allow for secondary fermentation or general maturation as wines become ready for sale. This service can be of huge benefit where space is at a premium, as well as a valuable time saver.

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Categories of contract providers

◆ Dedicated, contract-only wineries like Defined Wine and Divergent Drinks.

◆ Businesses which produce their own brand but also run a contract service alongside – this can form a smaller or larger proportion of their work, depending on the set-up of the operation. Wineries set up in this way include Itasca Wines, who make their own wines under the Penn Croft label, but reserve most of their capacity for contract winemaking clients. Conversely, Hambledon Vineyard devote most of their capacity to their own brands but have space for a small allocation of contract clients.

◆ Partnership arrangements.

Settling on which type of service to use will be an individual decision. Factors like geography and pricing will be significant drivers, but also the type of wine that is required and the processes that will be needed to

make it. It’s important to have a clear idea of what you want the outcome of the relationship to be, and to be prepared to communicate that plainly. As well as having winemaking services available, some contract businesses also have teams that work on distribution, so it may be possible to negotiate an arrangement with some contractors that assists with selling the wine once it has been made too.

Whatever arrangement you settle on, make sure that the financial arrangements are carefully documented. This may include putting considerations like payment terms, pricing structures and any additional fees and expenses down in detail in the contract to help prevent misunderstandings and disputes. It also helps to maintain transparency throughout the arrangement. Many wine contractors will already have a standard form contract that they will be able to adapt to suit each client, but don’t be afraid to ask for more clarity if it isn’t detailed enough for your satisfaction.

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Potential benefits

Contract winemakers are likely to have larger facilities kitted out to a high specification which may well significantly exceed the standard of production technology that a smaller winery would routinely have access to. This could include anything from conveyors to move grapes to the press, individual tank heating or chilling and in-house laboratories for wine analysis.

Contractors will also have an experienced in-house team who can work with clients to employ the most suitable winemaking methods to achieve the desired finished wine. Keeping communication channels open but trusting the experts to get it right can free up much needed time back at the vineyard for getting hands on with the never ending list of chores amongst the vines and allow for a greater focus on sales - elements that it may not be as practical or relatively affordable to outsource.

As the contract winemaking industry evolves, the range of services available is increasing. Contractors are aware that growers may have very specific requirements for the way their wines are produced, such as keeping the process sustainable or organic, for example. There are now five contract UK wineries that have been certified under WineGB’s rigorous Sustainable

Wines of Great Britain scheme. These are Denbies, Defined Wine, Divergent Drinks, Haygrove Evolution, and Three Choirs. If the grapes have been sourced from an accredited vineyard and made by one of these producers, then the Sustainable Wine Scheme logo can be used on the bottle labels and product marketing.

Litmus Wines, the contract side of Denbies, are not just WineGB accredited but also have organic and biodynamic Demeter certification. It’s important to do your research and have an initial consultation with a potential contractor early so that you can ensure that your values and way of working align.

Potential drawbacks

While contract winemakers work hard to make sure that good levels of communication take place and their clients are kept well informed about the winemaking process, by its very nature contracting out production gives a hands-off approach to producing wine. This may be difficult for people who are accustomed to micro-managing every aspect of their business – but it may also be a good experience for some to let go of the reins a little bit!

The biggest worry most producers will have is about quality control. This is why it’s important to have a conversation with a few

different contractors to find the one that suits you and your style the best. Ask about their existing clients and their capacity to take on additional projects. Don’t be afraid to ask for references to ensure that you are satisfied that their approach to quality will be of as high a standard as your own.

If your wine is made by a contractor, it will need to be indicated as such on your labels. This might not be right for the business model or marketing strategy of some wine growers, who focus on their sense of place as a key part of their messaging.

It’s important to know what to expect when things go wrong. Accidents can happen to grapes in transit, or there can be problems within the winery. Ensure that any business relationship is covered by a detailed contract and appropriate insurance so that, should the worst happen, it is clear who takes responsibility and what remedial actions they should take. Again, this comes down to working with a company that you are able to trust and communicate openly with.

Trust is also important when sharing proprietary information like recipes or branding strategies with a contract winemaker. Ensure proper safeguards are put in place to prevent any unauthorised disclosure or misuse of your intellectual property.

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Wiston Estate
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Things to consider

Understanding the logistical requirements and capabilities of the contract winemaker is crucial. They will have to work hard to coordinate transportation, storage and handling – potentially for more than one client in a relatively short window of time during harvest.

◆ Different contract winemakers will have different requirements when it comes to notifying them when fruit is due to be delivered and how it should be packaged for transport. Make sure you are clear

Contract winemaker directory

A list of some of the key contract-only and hybrid wineries available in the UK. Inclusion in this directory does not constitute a recommendation

◆ Chilford Hall Vineyard Linton, Cambridgeshire 01223 895 600|

◆ Defined Wine

Near Canterbury, Kent 01227 832907 |

◆ Divergent Drinks Worthing, Sussex 01903 255204 |

◆ Halfpenny Green

Bobbington, Staffordshire 01384 221122 |

◆ Hambledon Vineyard

Hambledon, Hampshire 02392 632358 |

◆ Haygrove Evolution

Sixteen Ridges Wine, Ledbury, Herefordshire 01531 637119 |

◆ Itasca Wines

Penn Croft Vineyards, Crondall, Hampshire 01252 279830 |

◆ Langham Wine Estate Dorchester, Dorset 01258 839095 |

◆ Litmus Wines

Denbies Vineyard, Dorking, Surrey 01306 898 488 |

Litmus Wines have a very useful still and sparkling wine calculator on their website which is helpful for estimating the costs of contracting if it is an option you are considering.

◆ Mereworth Wines

Maidstone, Kent 01622 817795 |

◆ Wiston Estate Winery

Pulborough, Sussex 01903 877845 |

on their guidelines well before harvest is due so that you can plan accordingly. Failing to prepare grapes in the correct manner may result in a delay to their processing upon arrival.

◆ When sending fruit to a contractor, a Commercial Accompanying Document (CAD) must be completed and accompany the delivery. This is a legal requirement. The form can be downloaded from the Food Standards Agency website. Download the CAD at

◆ When labelling the wines, it is important to clearly delineate where the product was made. You can choose either to name the winery or to put the Wine Standards official code for that location on the back label. The Food Standards Agency issues official codes on request.

Choosing a service that’s right for you

Henry Sugden, the CEO of Defined Wine in Kent outlines some questions to ask when choosing a contract winemaker:

◆ Will they make wine the way you want or does the winery have a ‘house style’

◆ Will your wine be kept separate or be blended with others

◆ Do you get on with the winery team

◆ Are they able to provide all the elements you want, for instance, are they able to store your wine

◆ Where are they – and does this make a difference to you

◆ What is access like, when is the winery open during harvest and what harvesting methods can they take?

Route to market

When planning to work with a contract winemaker, it is important to consider what you want to actually do with the product when it is finished. In a few years time, when it is ready, what channels are you going to use to sell it? What market are you targeting?

These questions are important whether you are making the wine yourself or contracting the work out. But having a clear sales strategy will really help to define your needs to the contractor and help them to make the right decisions with you so that you come out with the wine that is right for you and your business.

A successful partnership

A successful partnership with a contract winemaker can build a long-term relationship that is based on trust, communication and mutual respect. Yielding benefits beyond the immediate project, this positive working relationship can prove fruitful for both parties. As the UK wine industry continues to grow and evolve, it is likely that we will see many more contractors popping up on the scene, and perhaps new collaborative winemaking models start to develop. Contracting out winemaking processes won’t be right for everyone, but their increasing presence is an indicator of the industry’s present health, despite the difficult financial climate in which we find ourselves.


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Case study: Wiston Estate

“We believe collaboration, rather than competition, is the best way to grow our business.”

The Wiston Estate Winery in Pulborough, Sussex, has been offering contract services to the English wine industry since 2008. They were the winners of the WinesGB Contract Winery Award in 2023, thanks to the skill of their team.

The Wiston Business Operations Manager, Oliver Marsh, told Vineyard Magazine more about how it all works:

“Wiston have been doing contract winemaking almost from day one. Anyone who sets up a vineyard and a winery has a long lag between putting a vine in the ground and having a bottle to sell and getting some return on the investment. Offering contract services on the side gives a revenue stream from day one.

“We’re a small estate, but there’s a lot going on. It’s not just the winery, there’s forestry and farming tenants too. We treat our contract clients like part of the estate, part of the Wiston family. We don’t work with many clients, this year we only pressed for six separate businesses. So we can put a lot of attention on their individual needs.

What is the experience like for your clients?

“When we received the fruit this year it was bonkers. It was a huge harvest but we were able to accommodate everyone and get them in without a lag – we want to involve people as well. We like to teach people about what we’re doing, get them in for blending after we have made the base wines and they can see the process and get involved if they want to.

Megan Rayner-Ward, assistant winemaker and Marcus Rayner-Ward, winemaker at Wiston Estate

“It’s important to us that they get to know their products. To understand year on year what their Chardonnay from a certain plot is tasting like, for example. One day they might move on to make the wine for themselves and we want them to be informed about their own vineyards.”

What is your approach to winemaking?

“We treat a client’s wine like we would our own. We have very high standards and expectations of our wine. It has won numerous awards and we have been GB Winery of the Year several times.

“We do not drop standards for a client. If someone comes to us they will have their wine made with the exact same passion, love and quality focus that we put into Wiston wine.”

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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.

If you are interested in wine production in the UK find out

about WineGB and join us. Visit our website

English Wine Week and Welsh Wine Week

Our industry is gearing up for two key events in the GB wine calendar:

◆ Welsh Wine Week (24 May – 2 June)

◆ English Wine Week (15 June – 23 June)

Welsh Wine Week

Welsh Wine Week, managed by marketing consultancy Levercliff, is the first off the starter’s block. The dedicated website – – contains information about what is happening during the week with a calendar of vineyard event activity. There is also a map indicating the vineyards that offer direct-toconsumer sales and a page to download digital assets.

On 28 May, the vineyards and wineries of Wales are coming together for a trade and press tasting at the Mad Dog Brewery in Cardiff. RSVP via Lauren Smith –

English Wine Week

Later in June it is the turn of English Wine Week. On 17 June we will be releasing the WineGB Tourism Report containing the latest statistics and data, how we’re asking the Government to support this growing part of our industry, and our tourism triumphs, from winery slides to sustainable cellar doors.

On 20 June, we will be unveiling the results and medal-winning wines from this year’s WineGB Awards. Now in its eighth year, the WineGB Awards is the most comprehensive competition for GB wine. It is judged by a panel of nine expert tasters including Masters of Wine and top sommeliers, buyers, retailers, and writers, chaired by Susie Barrie MW, Oz Clarke OBE, and Peter Richards MW.

Judging is moving west this year to the stunning Sandridge Barton in Devon and will take place from 3 to 6 June.

Photo: Cat Wilder
44 facebook-f @winegb X-TWITTER @Wine_GB INSTAGRAM @winegb linkedin-in @winegb
Photo: Gusbourne

WineGB is the hub and go-to place to find out what’s happening during English Wine Week. Visit our What’s On section to find a list of events. Flagship regional events are also taking place during the week. Vineyards in Hampshire, Surrey and Thames & Chilterns are coming together for large wine festivals:

◆ The Vineyards of the Surrey Hills Summer Spectacular, 15-16 June

Each of the five member vineyards – Albury Organic Vineyard, Chilworth Manor Vineyard, Denbies Wine Estate, Greyfriars Vineyard, and High Clandon Estate Vineyard – will be holding unique events and tastings. Find out more here.

◆ TCVA English Wine Week Celebration, 16 June, Henley-on-Thames

Members of the Thames & Chilterns Vineyards Association, including Daws Hill Vineyard, Fairmile Vineyard, Hundred Hills, JoJo’s Vineyard, Oaken Grove Vineyard, Stanlake Park, and Wyfold Vineyard are coming together to celebrate English Wine Week. Working with local deli Pavilion Foods and South Oxfordshire District Council, the vineyards will host tastings in Henley town square from 11am until 4pm. Tickets will be available from 20 May from Pavilion Foods.

◆ Vineyards of Hampshire Fizz Fest, 23 June, The Grange

Marking its 10th anniversary, the Vineyards of Hampshire Fizz Fest has moved its annual summer celebration forwards to coincide with English Wine Week. Enjoy wine from Black Chalk, Danebury Vineyards, Exton Park, The Grange, Hambledon Vineyards, Hattingley Valley, Louis Pommery England and Raimes.

Visit the English Wine Week event page where you will find a list of what is happening and where: If you’re holding an event, tell us about it filling in our online form:

Nicola Bates, CEO of Wines of Great Britain, the trade association of English and Welsh wine, said: “English Wine Week is the perfect opportunity to support the UK’s fastest growing agricultural sector. What better way to spend your holidays and weekends with a stay or trip to your local vineyard, celebrating at a wine festival, and then taking home a couple of bottles to share your experience with friends. Your palate will thank you and your support will make a difference.”

WineGB Awards

Important dates.

◆ 3-6 June: WineGB Awards judging at Sandridge Barton

◆ 20 June: Results and medal announcements

◆ 19 July: Trophies revealed at WineGB Awards Celebration Lunch

Our judges are:

Co-Chairs: Susie Barrie MW, Oz Clarke OBE, and Peter Richards MW Matt Horsley (Buyer, The Wine Society), Matt Hodgson (Founder, Grape Britannia), Giles James (Founder and Owner, ID Wines), Rebecca Palmer (Buyer, Corney & Barrow), Dan Farrell-Wright, Founder, Wickhams, and Rebecca Mitchell (Sommelier, Educator and Consultant).

◆ 4 September: WineGB Trade & Press Tasting, Battersea Arts Centre, London

JOIN WINEGB phone-alt 01858 467792 paper-plane globe-asia 45
Save the date WineGB membership gives you access to the WineGB Awards and the WineGB Trade & Press Tasting. Email for more information.

Inter vine weeding


Many vineyards have a Boisselet in their armory or alternatively hire one from Vitifruit Equipment.

Each Boisselet is fitted with a Servo Motor, the most recent model being the EVO 4. This unique bit of kit is the heart and soul of the machine and gives the tractor driver the opportunity to achieve a high level of inter vine weed control if set up correctly.

Over the last thirty years or so many vineyards have lost their original driver and the replacement may not and probably does not know how to set up the machine correctly. As a result David Sayell and Han Rushanov have been visiting users to give them appropriate training often leading to further help when understanding how to use other machinery, including tractors and fitting kit onto tractors. When a Boisselet is properly set up it's often a revelation to users as to how fast they can drive without damaging the vines, and thanks to the Servo Motor even very young vines. The adjustment to deal with young and old vines is simply to increase tension on a spring by stretching it by hand with a butterfly screw and setting the sensing wand in the correct position according to which end tool is employed. For very young vines you must have a tutor fully anchored into the ground directly next to the vine so that it does not move when the sensor wand touches it. The sensitivity when on a soft setting will react even against taut string.

as when they use it and compare the result over a complete season's work the Boisselet both saves time and actually deals with weeds between the vines.

One interesting comment often made these days by long term users of a Rollhack is that they regret not trying the Boisselet sooner

Setting the adjustments on the Boisselet is easy but needs understanding and those thrown in at the deep end soon get into difficulties; that's why Vitifruit Equipment ensure every time machines are delivered when sold or hired that they invest time with the customer to ensure that they have all the knowledge they need to get the best from the equipment. The Servo Motor has two mounting points so that many types of strimmer and cultivator can be attached; these can be seen at: phone-alt 01732 866567 ✉ 46 MACHINERY & EQUIPMENT 46
David Sayell&Richard W i t
Inter Vine weeding with the Boisselet EVO 4 Servo Motor.
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Effective and efficient sprayer coverage

On 16 April, staff from NP Seymour headed to Plumpton College for WineGB’s Conference for Growth to give a talk on sprayer usage and calibration, looking in particular at the OCLL NPA sprayer.

If you’re looking for a reliable vineyard sprayer that will provide effective and efficient coverage for the 2024 season, the range of OCLL sprayers from Carrarospray, including the NPA directional sprayer, remains the most economically priced for growers.

We have stocked Carrarospray since the mid-1980s and have always noted how these well-built sprayers have consistently proven to give many years of reliable service.

The rear-mounted NPA directional sprayer from OCLL features a modern design that ensures the unit passes through the crop without damaging plants. It is available with 400, 500, or 600 litre tank capacities.

Equipped with an excellent quality 50 litres per min diaphragm pump, the NPA air-assisted nozzle system ensures even distribution and penetration of the spray through vines.

By effectively producing micrometric-sized droplets in a mist, which completely and uniformly cover the leaves with a very fine protective film, a more concentrated, even and effective application of protection products can be achieved.

This method also allows the spray to reach the most hidden parts of the plant while avoiding any run off and it allows the action of the active ingredients to take place evenly without staining the leaf or the fruit.

Other features of the NPA directional sprayer include a suction filter with shut-off valve and there is a 3-way valve for the fresh water tank for cleaning chemical residues. There is also jet agitation at high pressure, easily accessible controls, and a chart for calibrating spray rates.

If you’re looking to get the best out of an existing sprayer this year, it is always

recommended to check the condition of the nozzles.

Nozzles distribute the chemicals, and over time, they can become worn or clogged, resulting in uneven application. It’s important to replace these nozzles regularly to ensure that the chemicals are being applied at the correct rate and in the correct pattern.

Albuz are by far the best sprayer nozzles on the market, giving high spray quality and excellent flow rate precision, allowing you to optimise coverage and reduce spray costs.

The ATR80 is a hollow cone nozzle which sprays fine droplets at an angle of 80 degrees and can be used for both fungicides and insecticides. Made of ceramic, these nozzles are exceptionally resistant to wear, abrasion and chemicals, but they do still need replacing.

It is also important to ensure correct nozzle sizing by calculating spray application charts and which nozzle is correct for the spray rate required.

Finally, as a gentle reminder, you should also have put your sprayer through its National Sprayer Testing Scheme (NSTS) test as the regulations have been changed to require an annual test for air-assisted sprayers. Weed sprayers are still on a three-year test cycle. This is a mandatory requirement for anyone operating a sprayer and involves a thorough inspection to ensure that the equipment is operating correctly and within legal guidelines. The test includes checking that the sprayer is calibrated correctly, that it has no leaks, is fit for purpose, and that the nozzles are operating at the correct pressure and flow rate.

49 49 Claire Seym ur N P S e y m ruo dtL For more information please get in touch with the NP Seymour sales team on 01580 712200 or email

Criminal gangs targeting popular pick-ups

NFU Mutual and the police are urging farmers and other owners of pick-up trucks to take action to safeguard their vehicles against sophisticated thieves.

Both the leading rural insurer and the National Rural Crime Unit (NRCU) have seen an increase in the thefts of pick-ups from farms and rural locations around the UK, with newer models targeted by sophisticated criminals who compromise keyless entrance systems.

Together they are advising owners to adopt a combination of traditional and technological security measures in order to safeguard their vehicles from criminal gangs.

Police and NFU Mutual experts working on recovery have recovered Hi-Lux trucks which have been shipped abroad by criminal gangs and have seen a rise in pick-up theft in general in 2024.

Hannah Binns, Rural Affairs Specialist at NFU Mutual, said: “Pick-ups are prized by farmers, growers and the rural community for their practicality and hardiness, but sadly this makes them a repeat target for thieves. NFU Mutual has seen an increase in the theft of these vehicles so we’re urging owners to take action to protect their vehicles.

“We work with the National Rural Crime Unit to help track down thieves and trace stolen vehicles, returning them to their owners where possible.

“Prevention is key and we’d urge owners to keep their vehicles locked at all times when not in use and park in well-lit areas which are overlooked.

“Farmers and growers can fit an accredited alarm for security and a tracking device to locate the vehicle if stolen.

“Also consider etching the vehicle identification number on windows, marking any component parts with forensic marking solutions, and photographing any unusual features, modifications, damage or repairs to help aid identification if stolen.

“We’d also urge farmers and growers not to share information on social media which could indicate where their vehicle is kept.”

NFU Mutual has also partnered with Scorpion Track to offer customers discounts of over 50% on sophisticated tracking and

DC Chris Piggott of the National Construction and Agri Thefts Team, which sits within the National Rural Crime Unit of the police, said Toyota Hi-Lux are being targeted by thieves: “We have seen a large number of Toyota Hi-Lux stolen by organised criminal gangs. Most of them are less than five years old and they are being electronically compromised without any need to access the vehicle keys.

“It is therefore worth doing all you can to fortify your vehicle, using a combination of measures such as immobilisers and tracking devices as well as traditional methods like pedal and steering wheel locks to deter or hinder thieves. If you’re able to do so, it’s worth keeping the vehicle in a garage when not in use.

“The Midlands and South East of England have been worst affected recently, but we know criminal gangs often move between regions, so everyone should stay alert.”

NFU Mutual’s top tips for securing your vehicle

◆ Keep the vehicle locked at all times when not in use

◆ Fit an accredited alarm for security and a tracking device to locate your vehicle if stolen – NFU Mutual customers can receive a discount on Scorpion Track devices

◆ Fit a mechanical immobiliser such as a steering wheel or pedal lock

◆ Thieves can target component parts so consider marking them using a forensic marking solution or system

◆ Keep the vehicle in a lockable building if possible, or park in well-lit areas which are overlooked

◆ Have the vehicle identification number etched on windows

◆ Consider fitting a hidden battery isolation or a fuel cut-off switch

◆ Take photographs of unusual features, modifications, damage or repairs which could aid identification if stolen

◆ Ensure any valuables are removed from the vehicle

◆ Don’t share information on social media which could indicate where your vehicle is kept

◆ For modern vehicles, keep electronic keys in a faraday pocket or box at night

anti-theft devices for their vehicles.
51 51 Do you need support with recruitment in 2024? We can help! At Flawless we are motivated, reactive and committed to finding you the workers you need Contact us 07809473645 Del Warner 07716599379 Lisa Warner Delwarner@flawlesspremises com Lisawarner@flawlesspremises com
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One-stop-shop for vineyards

Dan Turner was expecting to work in environmental or agricultural consultancy when he finished studying, but a surprise change of direction sparked a chain of events that now sees him heading up Crawfords Group’s dedicated new viticulture, fruit and professional division.


After working part-time at Saffron Grange Vineyard in north Essex to support himself through college, Dan fell in love with grape growing and wine making.

The skills he learned over the next dozen or so years as a vineyard manager are now being put to good use by Crawfords Group, which has appointed Dan as group business development manager for vineyard, fruit and professional, a new role which marks the company’s commitment to the burgeoning viticulture sector.

The group is focused on providing a comprehensive, end-to-end solution for vineyard customers that will make it the go-to, ‘one stop shop’ for everything from hand tools to tractors and including servicing, repairs and parts. It is a bold ambition but one that has been strengthened by its appointment as the sole UK distributer for top French manufacturer Pellenc’s arboriculture and viticulture ranges.

Dan’s 14 years’ experience at the sharp end of the industry has convinced him that UK winemakers need to embrace mechanisation if they are to lower their costs so that their excellent products can compete on price as well as on quality, and the Crawfords Group is committed to supporting that transition.

With Crawfords Group now encompassing Agwood and Crawfords as well as Crawfords Automotive, it can offer growers specialist tractors from all three of the dominant AGCO brands, Fendt, Valtra and Massey Ferguson.

Other suppliers offered by the exciting new division include Manitou, Isuzu, Pellenc, Kioti, Suzuki, Andreoli Sprayers, Spearhead Machinery, Wessex, Logic and Alpego Focus Line.

A dedicated team is on hand to assist with finance requirements, a useful facility when vineyard owners are having to consider investing

UK winemakers need to embrace mechanisation if they are to lower their costs

in new equipment to reduce long term costs and improve their bottom line over time.

“We can supply everything from hand tools through to materials handling machines and from sprayers to leaf trimmers,” Dan explained. “In terms of machinery, we aim to be able to supply everything a grower could want.”

And because Dan knows that supplying machinery is often only half the story, particularly during harvest, he is quick to stress that the group’s 50-plus mobile technicians, each with their own vehicle, can be on hand to deal with breakdowns, servicing and repairs quickly and effectively. Crawfords Group has recently also launched a dedicated parts van in Kent run by customer care and support manager Ronnie Cray.

“Service really is paramount to Crawfords Group,” Dan explained. “I know from my own experience that buying a machine is only the start. You really need first class backup to make sure it keeps running, particularly at the busiest time of the year, and that’s what we will ensure we deliver.”

That challenge is made slightly easier by the fact that ‘busy’ in grape harvesting terms means October, once the equally busy arable harvest is for the most part done and dusted. “Our motto across the group is ‘farmer first’ and that applies equally to growers,” Dan stressed. <<

53 53

The group covers Essex, Hertfordshire, Kent, Sussex, Surrey and Hampshire, and offers a full range of service and breakdown support for all kinds of machinery. While Crawfords Group has combined depots at Writtle in Essex, Charing in Kent and Billingshurst in West Sussex, it also has two separate depots, with Crawfords operating from Ropley, near Alresford in Hampshire, and Agwood based at Swingfield, near Dover.

Dan’s part time job at Saffron Grange, where he learned from, amongst others, viticulture consultant Duncan McNeill of MVM, led to him later managing the six-hectare vineyard for eight years before moving on to a larger challenge, looking after 75 hectares of grapes near Burnham-on-Crouch for MDCV UK.

“Two of the challenges with larger sites are the availability of skilled

labour and investing in the right machinery,” he said. “Hands on is fine, but you need an awful lot of hands, and they aren’t easy to find. As a wine producing country, we need to change some of our cultural practices to cut costs while keeping quality high.”

Dan became increasingly convinced that mechanisation was the way forward for UK wine, which is why he jumped at the chance to work with Crawfords Group to deliver a dedicated service to vineyards across the South East.

“This role gives me the opportunity to have an even bigger influence on the growth of viticulture in the UK,” he explained. “Crawfords is committed to helping growers become more efficient and more profitable by supporting the move into mechanisation.”

54 54
<< <<
Ronnie Cray – Parts delivery Dan Turner
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Dan’s previous experience allows Crawfords Group to offer a consultative approach within the sales process, advising customers on now they can increase the profitability, efficiency, and sustainability of their business.

“We can even advise people who are still only considering planting their own vineyard and can create bespoke packages for any size of business,” said Dan.

Central to the Crawfords Group’s strategy is its close partnership with Pellenc, the French manufacturer of everything from power hand tools to harvesting machines.

Crawfords Group will be supplying a wide range of Pellenc products, including tractor-mounted leaf removers and vine trimmers alongside pruning shears, strimmers, chain saws and inter-row cultivation equipment.

"We can even advise people who are still only considering planting their own vineyard and can create bespoke packages for any size of business,


56 56
<< <<
Dan Turner and Nunzio Rio
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In terms of motive power, alongside the dedicated vineyard tractors from the major manufacturers, the group stocks small tractors from Kioti, telehandlers and industrial forklifts from Manitou and fourwheel drive all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) from Suzuki. There is also talk of a new range of vineyard tractors from Valtra which is raising interest levels within the industry.

Dan was quick to stress that his job and that of the sales team was not just about selling equipment but about advising growers on what would work for their particular vineyard. “The focus is on helping our customers make the right decisions for their individual circumstances, so that they can produce a great product at a lower cost,” he explained.

“We will not only suggest the best product for now, but will aim to future proof that decision so that they are in the right place to grow the business over time and can scale up without starting from scratch. We will also offer first class after-sales care, providing tailored fixed-cost service and warranty packages where required.”

“From hand tools to tractors and anything you can hang on or around a tractor, we have the machinery, the knowledge and the back-up to support growers across the region – and our range covers around 80%

Our range covers around 80% of the area currently used for growing vines in the UK

of the area currently used for growing vines in the UK.”

Crawfords Group offers Isuzu pick-up trucks via Crawfords Automotive, as well as telehandlers, flail mowers, spreaders and equipment from Manitou, Wessex, Spearhead and Amazone. Alpego’s Focus Line is a dedicated range of vineyard and fruit machinery that also includes flails, cultivators and seeding equipment.

"Our commitment to providing outstanding service and product support is unwavering," said Wes Crawford, Crawfords Group managing director. "Our team of extensively trained professionals in our sales, service and parts departments ensures that customers receive excellent customer care.

“Crawfords Group understands the unique demands of the viticulture sector and is dedicated to delivering solutions that not only meet but exceed our customers' expectations. Whether it's sales advice or aftersales support, our dedicated team is here to help, every step of the way."

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