Crouch Valley

Bardfield Vineyard 12th May 2016

The No. 2 Wine Group held its first Vineyard visit on Thursday 12th May. We were blessed very good sunny day. Also we were fortunate in that Alan one of our group members, was able to borrow a mini-bus and drive us to our destination.

Although the purpose of the visit was to learn about vine culture and taste the wine from the vines we inspected, the tour had historical elements, tree and wild flower planting and the sex lives of Alpacas!

On arrival at our venue, Bardfield Vineyard, we were invited into the Great Barn, built at the time of Henry V111 when he installed Anne of Cleves in the Great Lodge on the estate.

Our host Rebecca, who together with her father, have restored the Great Barn a grade one listed building, now used for wine tasting and weddings. After we had relaxed in the glorious sunshine with coffee, we heard about the past history of this magnificent structure. As we proceeded around the area we stopped by a meadow containing Alpacas, who seemed as interested in us as we were in them.

It was in this meadow that the Great Lodge existed, now only the appearance of the moat remains. The house now lived in by the family was converted in the 18th century from the 16th century buildings.

We inspected the gardens which is being up graded, and were shown the area where extensive tree planting has taken place, not only to provide some wind protection for the vineyard but to encourage wildflowers and hopefully Turtle Doves.

Rebecca now handed us over to Clara, who is responsible for maintaining the vineyard throughout the year. We heard about many factors that involve her work. The correct pruning is critical, necessary spraying to prevent fungal attacks. Further pruning of foliage to let in light as the grapes develop and then testing the grape to decide the all-important time to harvest. That is as long as Badgers and Deer have not ravaged the crop, as has happened in the past.

We then adjourned to the Great Barn to taste the wines grown in this vineyard, three White’s and a Rosa. Several members stocked up confirming the quality of these wines.

Our tour was unhurried, lots of information and questions answered. It was and enjoyable visit thanks to Rebecca and Clara, also our gratitude to Alan for transporting us.

We went on to an eatery nearby to have a leisurely lunch which concluded a delightful day out.

Click on a picture below to see it full-size with more details.