Cheers! First bottles of wine made from grapes grown in a hillside vineyard in South Cave
The first bottles of wine have been produced from a hillside vineyard in South Cave
By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 18 Jul 2017
The first bottles of wine have been produced from grapes grown near South Cave.
They mark a milestone for farmer Henry Wilson and his family who have spent the past five years carefully nurturing their vineyard on a chalk hillside overlooking the village.
It has now joined the small but growing number of vineyards across Yorkshire.
"It's been a real learning curve for us because we had never tried growing grapes on a commercial scale like before," said Mr Wilson.
"My father bought Market Place Farm in 1947. Half the farm's land is at Broomfleet where it's flat, cold clay, the rest is here on steep chalk slopes, the two could not be more different."
Until 2000, the hillside fields near South Cave were used to grow barley.
However, difficulties in using heavy machinery on such terrain saw the land turned over for grazing.
Five years ago Mr Wilson decided to diversify again - this time into wine.
"We did a bit of research and in 2012 planted out 1,000 white vines. That summer was cold, miserable and wet and we lost around 90 per cent of the crop but we persevered and, thankfully, we've had better summers since then."
Another 1,000 vines have been added since then, including 500 red vines.
"Last year we harvested two tonnes of grapes which have made 2,500 bottles of wine. They are our first bottled wines and we are every happy with them."
The white wine - Barley Hill - takes it name from the previous crop grown on the land. The rose wine is called Poppy Hill.
Two sparkling wines, Henry's Harvest and Heather's Sparkle, named after his wife, will also soon be available.
"The big factor is the weather," said Mr Wilson.
"In France and Spain, the vineyards there don't have to worry too much about the weather because sunshine is pretty much guaranteed.
"Here it's a very different story but we're high up on south-facing soil which gives us a head start. At the bottom of the hill it can be a couple of degrees colder during the winter.
"Even so, you might do everything right and still lose the lot through no fault of your own just because of the weather. That's what farming in this country is sometimes all about."
This year's crop is looking good thanks to a relatively mild winter and the warm summer.
Harvesting by hand starts in September and there are plans in the pipeline to expand the vineyard across another ten acres of land over the next couple of years.
"They reckon it takes ten years for a vineyard to get properly established," said Mr Wilson.
"We're half-way there and our first bottles of wine now being sold. It's really exciting to see people being able to enjoy a nice wine grown here right on their own droorstep."
The wine can be bought via www.littlewoldvineyard.co.uk where guided tours of the vineyard can also be booked.
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