It’s almost six years since we took on our five acre vineyard in Kent. At that time our knowledge of the English wine industry, vineyard care and wine making could have been written on a wine label and there’d still be room for a full quota of EU regulated consumer information. But, that’s changed!
Since the day we first entered the vineyard in 2009, we’ve lived the best and worst of vineyard life. The jubilation and expectation felt when you finish vine pruning in late March, carries visions of a vineyard soon to be abundant with juicy green grapes. This can soon be turned to despair and dismay when a late-season frost in early May destroys your vine buds and with it, any hope of a good harvest. Then the next year, a warm spring is followed by a glorious summer and as autumn settles in, you’re gifted with a bumper crop. Winter passes and spring comes again, you take stock of case upon case of bottled wine made from your vineyard’s grapes and you realise that you, an ordinary person, have become a wine producer. The release of our first wine Rampant Horse was a milestone in our lives.
It’s incredibly fulfilling and despite those occasional disappointments, we can honestly say that every moment of running the vineyard since we began has been wonderful.
Learning how to grow English wine grapes, from pruning to harvest, over winter and then pruning again, has been one of the most rewarding achievements in our lives, second only to bringing up children. Naturally, we quickly realised we wanted to share this delight with others. The English wine industry has been good to us; we wanted to give something back. What better way than to raise interest, awareness and respect for its quality products, share what we’ve learned, give people access to a working vineyard and let them have a go at the wine-making process, from bud to glass?
And that’s why we created our wine and vine experiences. We named them Cheery Days because that’s exactly what our guests enjoy; a happy time among the vines, some English wine tasting (not always ours – there’s so many other great products to sample) while learning how the wine was created, before a sumptuous lunch at The Milk House with a glass of the English wine you have now helped produce. We can’t tell you how lucky we feel to have such a fine village pub and restaurant, run by the friendliest people, within just a couple of miles of the vineyard. The Milk House is a treasure.
We hope you now understand why we’re passionate about English wine and Cheery Days; why we want others to share the wonderful experiences we’ve had making English wine in a Kent vineyard. If you would like to know more, we’d love to hear from you and answer any questions you have, so please do get in touch.