English Wine is our flagship product. Grapes grown in this
country may appear disadvantaged by our climate. Indeed they do struggle,
but this very difficulty can be turned to advantage by the fact that
the long season and slow ripening actually produce grapes of better
quality for wine-making.
have chosen hybrid varieties that are best suited for organic growing.
These hybrids have been crossed with native American vines, which confer
resistance to mildew and so eliminate the need to spray.
we press our grapes on our old hand-turned cider-press (see logo above)
using the ‘straw-cheese’ method which was once traditional
for cider-making though is hardly ever used these days. We find that
this method works very well with our grapes. Pressing like this is slow
and the juice is allowed to oxidise prior to fermentation which then
reverses naturally to produce a more stable wine.
Seyval is an old, established variety of vine from
the Loire Valley. It is widely grown in England, probably doing
better here than in its native France. It produces a striking wine
of singular freshness and character. As a dry wine it is the perfect
complement to any savoury dish from fish or white meat to vegetarian.
Orion is a recent, hybrid vine which makes a deliciously
fresh and fruity wine with flowery overtones, more typical of its
German origin. Sometimes we bottle this wine on its own or we may
blend it with the Seyval.
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Sparkling Wine Using some of our dry Seyval wine,
we have made sparkling wine by the traditional ‘Champagne
Method’. This involves secondary fermentation in the bottle,
followed by a lengthy maturation. The sediment is then riddled into
the neck of the bottle and frozen in order to eject it at disgorgement,
at which point the traditional champagne cork is inserted and wired
on. Unlike champagne, we don’t sweeten our sparkling wine
at all. The resulting wine is deliciously dry yet very comfortable
is an ancient tradition of making wines from a wide variety of fruits,
both wild and cultivated. The history of such wines is unrecorded,
but they must have originated as fruit-flavoured versions of mead, (known
as 'melomels'), since sugar was not available until 200 years ago.
wines may be looked down upon by serious wine connoisseurs, but
to the wine-maker they can be just as challenging and satisfying to
make. The crucial secret, as with all wine-making, lies in achieving
the right 'balance' of acidity and sweetness, so that the true flavour
of the fruit comes through.
range of fruit wines depends upon the particular fruits that we have
already planted. Depending on variations in crop-size, delays in fermentation
and changes in consumer demand, certain wines may become temporarily
out of stock. The list on the "wine shop"
page will reflect current availability. The list below describes the
full range of products:
Wine (Dry) Full-bodied and fruity - this wine holds
its own against any red grape wine.Best served at room temperature.
Wine (Dry) Classic gooseberry sharpness with plenty
of complexity and fruit.
Wine (Medium Sweet) Fragrant, delicious and
very fruity, this unique wine is particularly good with cheese
(even a strong one).
Wine (Medium Sweet) Local cherry plums
give this wine a rich and spicy balance. Great as an aperitif
or party wine.
Wine (Medium Sweet) If you love ginger, you
will love this sweet spicy and mellow wine for after dinner.
(Medium Sweet) Fruity and evocative of autumnal hedgerows.
Wine (Medium Sweet) Lush and so easy to drink
- Party time!
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is almost certainly the most ancient of all alcoholic drinks, possibly
dating back some 12,000 years. It is very simply made from honey, diluted
and then allowed to ferment. It crops up in many cultures across the
world and throughout history. It would have pre-dated even wine and
beer, which can be traced back several thousand years. The tradition
of mead in Europe was pursued most in areas less suitable for wine grapes,
which explains the enthusiasm of the Vikings for mead. England has a
long history of making mead, although it is not well-recorded. The
monasteries were skilled in keeping bees and brewing. After the dissolution
of the monasteries, these skills became scattered and only survived
thanks to individuals pursuing a cottage industry. Honey production
has always been scattered and small scale, so mead never lent itself
to industrial scale production. Although English honey is of excellent
quality, it is difficult to produce on a large scale because of our
unpredictable climate and problems with disease. It is almost impossible
to produce organic honey in England, (or anywhere in Europe for that
matter), because you can't get your bees out of flying range, (3 miles),
of conventional agriculture.
we make Mead
our organic mead, we use organic honey imported from Brazil. It is
cheaper because the bees don't have to stop work for winter - there
are flowers all year round! It is good to encourage organic production
abroad, because it gives other countries an alternative and an incentive
to resist the aggressive marketing of agrochemicals and GM crops. So,
the more organic products we buy, the more land is cared for by traditional
methods, which have proven sustainability.
Honey Mead (Medium Sweet) The honey is simply diluted with
water, fermented and then sweetened with more honey before filtration
and bottling. The mead takes its rich golden hue from the organic
honey. It has just sufficient sweetness to bring out the full flavour
of the honey, but has a light, lemony finish, which has you reaching
for another sip. It is certainly our best selling product.
Mead (Medium Sweet) We dissolve organic honey in our organic
apple juice and then ferment and sweeten with more honey, filter
and bottle as above. This is the mead that we fortify to make the
Mead Liqueur, which lives up to its epithet, ‘Nectar of the Gods’.
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range of liqueurs has mainly developed from the existing fruit wines
and mead. The aim has been to achieve the most intense flavour and taste
The technique involves extremely high concentrations of fruit which
is macerated and fermented, often to quite high levels of alcohol. Then
the pressed out wine is fortified with extremely strong (96%) alcohol
to reach about 21% abv and sweetened to balance. The taste is simply
stunning and hard to resist…..
Liqueur This is the most intense raspberry taste that
you are likely to experience. Most people say “Wow!”.
Liqueur A dead ringer for Sloe Gin! Spirited and fruity
with a hint of almond.
Liqueur This trumps the Ginger Wine for those ginger-lovers
Liqueur A serious rival to the French version, but try
sipping instead of mixing Kir!
Liqueur This has got to be the ‘Nectar of the Gods’.
This is the ultimate mead.
to use liqueurs
I encourage customers to sip and savour from a tiny glass. Less is more!
A small sip on the tip of your tongue is very impressive compared to
a gulp or shot! However, cocktails are very fashionable and our liqueurs
are great for mixing too, so do experiment! Also the liqueurs are great
drizzled over puddings and ice-cream.
We planted our cider orchard in 1987 with traditional old varieties
(Harry Masters Jersey, Stoke Red, Sweet Coppin, Yarlington Mill, Dabinett
and Dunkerton’s Late Sweet). When blended together these apples
make an excellent cider.
The cider apples are allowed to fall when they are naturally ripe and
are then picked up and when we have about a ton of apples we start to
mill them. The apple pulp is shovelled onto a layer of straw on the
bed of the old cider-press and is covered with more straw. In this way
alternate layers of straw and apple pulp are built up to form the ‘straw-cheese’,
until no more fits on the press. The straw holds the fruit in place
and allows the juice to filter through. A good deal of juice runs out
whilst the straw is being built. A slab of wood, called the ‘follower’,
is placed on top of the cheese, with stout baulks of timber to transmit
the pressure as the press is wound down. As the juice runs out into
a trough, it is pumped away into a fermentation vat, where it is simply
left. The juice ferments naturally and literally “makes itself”
into cider. The straw in the spent ‘pomace’ makes it perfect
The resulting cider is traditional farmhouse ‘scrumpy’,
typically somewhat cloudy as it is unfiltered. We sweeten some of it
to give customers the option of dry, medium or sweet. The cider
is only available in our farm shop. It is even cheaper if you
bring your own container.