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Making English wines since 1991

What is organic, natural and sustainable?

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Winemaking is a natural process and any fruit, if left, will eventually ferment. We believe that the route to making the best wines is to work with nature and this has to begin with organic grapes. The fruit then becomes a true expression of the grape variety and the soil that it grows in. Chemical fertilisers and pesticides are there to make life easy for the vineyard manager, but often result in wine that lacks character and balance. Some of the chemicals have been proven to leave a residue in the wine that the customer drinks.

In today's world it is important to preserve our environment for future generations. Everything we do has some impact on the environement, including making wine. We try to make our wines with as little energy as possible, mostly generated on site by solar panels. The winery generated more electricity that it uses, and when we need to buy in electricity we buy from 100% renewable sources. We also consider the footprint of every aspect, from grapes to water consumption and packaging. When you receive a wine delivery from us you might not notice that the bottle is lighter weight than most wines bottles, the cork is natural cork from Portugal, the label is FSC certified paper, the carton is made from 100% recycled board and any courier packaging is fully recyclable. We are working to be 100% plastic-free this year. All the packaging should be easily recycled.

We are looking at various sustainability certification schemes and carbon footprint schemes, but so far have not been able to find one that sets a standard close to where we feel we already are.

in 2000 we started investigating how to improve the biodiversity in our vineyards and surrounding land. We have changed the management to leave areas un-mowed to create a habitat for insects and grass seeds for birds. We've installed 20 bird nesting boxes in 2000 and will repeat this every winter. We have a successful breeding pair of kestrels that have raised 15 chicks over the last 3 years. The fields around the winery are managed as wildflower hay meadows (previously grazed by cattle and sheep). Hedges are trimmed only when absolutely needed, often on a 4 or 5 year cycle, sometimes longer, so that they provide a mix of habitats for nesting birds. It has the look of being unmanaged, but it takes a lot of time to create that look!

Recently we have seen a growth in interest in natural wines, many are cloudy and taste unique, following the trend for craft beers and cider. However some are made from grapes that have been grown with chemical fungicides and herbicides. For us the starting point is organic certification in the vineyard and without that no wine producer can make anything that can be described as Natural. Always look for the organic / biodynamic logo first if you want to make sure the vineyard is managed without chemicals.

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