London latest in UK vine planting surge

6th August, 2013 by Patrick Schmitt

Vienna is no longer Europe’s only wine region that doubles as a metropolis – London is now home to a number of vineyard start-ups.

London_skyline_lead

London is now home to a number of vineyards

Among the new projects in the capital is Enfield’s Forty Hall Community Vineyard, part of a 200-acre estate which features a 10-acre planting of primarily Pinot Noir, Meunier and Chardonnay for sparkling wine production.

As reported in the July edition of the drinks business, it’s hoped 2013 will provide the estate’s first vintage using bunches from inaugural plantings in 2009.

Not only will this vineyard potentially produce London’s first commercial-scale sparkling wine, but it will also be the inaugural organic fizz from the city – although the grapes will be taken to Plumpton College in Sussex to be vinified.

Forty Hall is currently organic, but founder of the project, Sarah Vaughan-Roberts, told db that she is looking into biodynamic viticulture, and planning to use horses to plough the vineyard.

Forty Hall Community Vineyard

Forty Hall Community Vineyard

Other London viticultural ventures include a “micro-vineyard” at Camley Street in Kings Cross, which is planning to produce its first vintage of 200 bottles this year according to Vic Keegan on Londonmylondon.com.

Then there’s Hawkwood Vineyard in Chingford, which is also aiming to release its first vintage this year from a 0.25 acre organic co-operative vineyard, as well as Gallows Vineyard near Wembley and, finally, Clocktower Vineyard in West London.

The latter, which occupies two former allotments in a public park, is managed by Tony Hibbett, who appears to have turned the vineyard into his own version of the Mosel (see image below).

As reported by The UK Vineyard Association (UKVA) yesterday, Hibbett has surrounded his vines in a slate-scree to control weeds and re-radiate heat to the grapes during the night.

Writing to the UKVA, he explained, “Having tried cheap weed control fabric, which does not prevent regeneration of persistent weeds, and bark chips, which get scattered by birds and mammals, harbours pests and progressively decays, I have settled for slate scree, which has a radiator effect.”

hibbert-weed-control

Slate scree at the Clocktower Vineyard. Photo credit: UKVA

Continuing, he noted, “The logistics and expense seemed quite daunting, but I found a supply at half price, which works out at £3 per square metre and is a permanent and effective solution and also retains moisture in the soil.”

We’ll have to wait a little longer to see if the practical viticultural solution imparts any beneficial “mineral” character to the wines.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please note that comments are subject to our posting guidelines in accordance with the Defamation Act 2013. Posts containing swear words, discrimination, offensive language and libellous or defamatory comments will not be approved.

Subscribe to our newsletters

New Business Development Manager Nordic

Concha Y Toro
Stockholm, Sweden

Experienced Administrator

The Drinks Business
Central London, UK

Sales Executive (London – Craft Spirits)

Bimber Distillery
London, UK

2 x Buying Assistants

Berry Bros. & Rudd
Battersea and Basingstoke, UK

Temporary Christmas Sales Support - Wines & Spirits

Harrods
Knighsbridge, London, UK

Head of Wholesale

Hispamerchants Ltd
London, UK

Sales Manager

Hispamerchants Ltd
London, UK

The World Bulk Wine Exhibition

Amsterdam,Netherlands
20th Nov 2017

The Drinks Business Green Awards 2017

London,United Kingdom
20th Nov 2017

The Global Spirits Masters Lunch

London,United Kingdom
1st Dec 2017
Click to view more

Green Awards 2017

Deadline : 25th October 2017

The Global Riesling Masters 2017

Deadline : 30th October 2017

Click to view more

Champagne Masters 2017

The only Champagne blind tasting in the UK, the competition will reward the best wines in the following categories:

The Global Rosé Masters 2017

With wines from the palest of pink to almost ruby red, bone dry to almost cloyingly sweet, reductively handled to barrel-aged, as well as gently spritzy to fully sparkling.

Click to view more