The Vineyard

Our vineyard benefits in may ways from the tors of Dartmoor. The moors act as a rain belt, reducing the amount of rain falling into the vineyard.  The tors also moderate the wind, which would normally push away any heat accumulated amongst the vines.

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The vineyard was planted in 2007, after a 2-year search for suitable land and buildings.

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In 2010, more vines were added in a second field resulting in 7000 vines now in production.

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Both vineyards are gently south-facing, with a slightly heavy clay soil, and had been previously used for the last 60 years for grazing.

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As well as Pinot Noir, we grow Dornfelder, Rondo and Acolon grapes. These varieties are best suited to our conditions, due largely to their large leaves to increase photosynthesis.

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No book will tell you exactly how to grow grapes in your vineyard, so we’ve evolved our growing methods over the last 10 years. We’ve now managed to virtually stop using any weed spray in the vineyard, which is great news for the vines, as well as for our wine.

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We now use machinery that will have very little impact on the soil, limiting any risk of soil compaction.

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Although we’re not an organic vineyard, we are conscious about what we spray. Only in extreme circumstances do we have to use insecticide.

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Living onsite means that we can be out in the vineyard all year round, keeping a constant eye for any disease on the vines. We then only need to spray when necessary, and reduce the amount of chemical that goes onto the vines.

Our Wines

The Devon climate is key to everything we do. The late “Indian summer” gives us the extra ripening we need, and the winters provide the cold temperatures to gently settle our wines without wasting vast amounts of electricity to chill the wines. All this means that we don’t rush our winemaking, allowing the wines to fully mature before we release them.

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Our wines are made exclusively from our own grapes, so have full control of the wine, all the way from planting, selecting the perfect harvest date, to when the wines are released, which is when we think they are perfect for drinking.

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All our wines are fermented and matured in stainless steel, until we bottle. With smaller batches of wine, we try to ferment in barrels, before moving to steel tanks, which have French Oak staves. To make the wines more elegant and soft, every wine goes through a malolactic ferment after the yeast ferment.

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In the winery, we like to celebrate the seasons. This means that we do what is best with each variety, at each vintage. We don’t try to make exactly the same wine from one year to the next, as each year produces subtle differences in the fruit.

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We are very passionate about not filtering out the flavour. Many large producers are required to sterile-filter their wines, in order to get them into major retail outlets. Whilst filtering makes the wine “safer”, in red wines, much of the character, colour, fruit and tannin are lost. We therefore only lightly filter our wines, to keep some character and style in them.

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The common characteristics in our wines include subtlety, softness, fruitiness, easy drinking style and hedgerow fruits flavours. Much of this comes from the slower Southwest ripening conditions, and we have been known to pick into mid-November.

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We’re often asked why we use screwcaps. For us, it is about providing consistent quality to the customer, without bottle variability caused by corks. More recently, we have been asked more about “sulphites” in wine. Screwcap closures will guarantee how much oxygen gets into each bottle through the cap. We can then put just enough sulphur into the wine, to protect against this oxidisation, without the need for “spare” sulphur as in cork-closed bottles.

Variaties

Pinot Noir is a very difficult variety for us to grow, and only one year in three are we able to make a single varietal wine. We often battle with difficult flowering, some disease, and birds trying to take the fruit. We are always experimenting in the vineyard to improve the yield and quality of the fruit.

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Rondo is the earliest variety to come into bud, and the earliest to harvest, around the end of September. The berries are fairly small, but with thick skins, giving a high juice to skin ratio. This produces heavier, darker, more tannic wines, that will normally age well.

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Dornfelder is our latest variety to come into bud, and the latest to harvest. The berries are the largest of all we grow, giving soften tannins and colour to wine. The colour, and tannins are ripe, but gentle, and the loose bunches, make it the easiest variety to grow.

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