Woodchurch Vineyard - 10th Birthday! 22, Apr 2020
On the 5th of May this year it will exactly 10 years since we planted the first vines at Woodchurch Vineyard. The last 10 years have been amazing - we have learned so much and we’re extremely proud of the vineyard and the delicious wine that we’ve produced. We could not have done it without the support of the local community, our customers and all the friends and family who have helped out with vineyard over the last 10 years.
We have achieved some great accomplishments over the years: a few stand out ones include winning the Best Wine in Kent award from the Taste of Kent 2020 Awards. We have also won 2 gold medals for our Blanc de Blancs and Rosé sparkling wines.
To celebrate our vineyard's 10th birthday, we’re running a special competition. The winner will receive 3 bottles of sparkling wine (worth £95). All you have to do is join our email newsletter.
If you’re already signed up, no problem - you can still enter, just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line 'Competition'.
(Entries close the 31st May and the winner will be contacted on the 1st of June. Entrants must be aged 18 or over. The winner can either collect their prize from the vineyard or we can deliver the wine to a UK Address.)
If you’re interested in knowing how it all began and our background… here’s our story:
When Graham and I met in 2008 we had a shared passion for vineyards and wine tasting, we both loved visiting vineyards abroad and on one of our first dates Graham took me on a vineyard tour around his home county of Kent. We visited Chapel Down and Biddenden. We were excited about where the English wine industry was heading and we were impressed by some of the big name sparkling wine producers such as Nyetimber and Ridgeview who were beginning to beat Champagne in competitions.
It wasn’t long into the relationship when we decided we should team up and set up our own vineyard. So we decided to take some viticulture courses at Plumpton College. These courses are excellent and gave us all the knowledge we needed to start making our dream a reality.
We knew that establishing a vineyard and producing wine could take many years so we were keen to get started as soon as possible. We faced a difficult choice – should we pool our savings and buy a house together or should we take a risk instead and buy a piece land to create a vineyard?
Once we’d decided to take the plunge, our first and most important task was to find the right piece of land. We focussed on Kent partly because of Graham’s background and partly because the county was fast becoming the source of some amazing wines. After searching for many months some land became available that was just the right size for us and had a south facing slope. The field was just outside the village of Woodchurch and at the time it was used for grazing sheep. We employed a viticulture consultant to help us assess the site. All the tests came back positive, so we bought the land in October 2009 and then set about preparing it for the vines to be planted.
We planted 10,000 Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier vines in May 2010. To say we were inexperienced was an understatement. We often joked that we could fill a book with the mistakes that we’ve made along our way, but we muddled through and always got advice and help from consultants and fellow wine growers to make sure we didn’t mess up too badly!
We had our first harvest in October 2012, from 10,000 vines we got a small 2 tonne crop. To put that in perspective those same vines produced 40 tonnes in 2018!
We released our first wine in 2015 which won medals from Decanter, IWC and IWSC. We have increased our range of wines in recent years and are now selling 3 sparkling wines and 2 still wines with another 2 still wines to be released in Summer 2020.
We built a visitor centre on the vineyard in 2018 and we now welcome visitors all year round to sample our wine and wander through the vines. Like the vineyards Graham and I visited back in 2008, perhaps our story can inspire people to set up their own business and follow their dream. If we can do it anyone can!