We selected the site for Humbleyard Vineyard because we had grown excellent early ripening soft fruit on these south facing slopes over the past 35 years. Warm, well drained and largely protected from frost, it has proved to be the ideal location for the vines.
Our first vines were planted in2010, with further plantings in 2011 and 2012. We now have 9 varieties of equal quantity, totalling about 10,000 vines, covering 8 acres. Each variety flowers and ripens at different times of the summer and autumn which reduces the risk of crop loss due to bad weather. As the timing of the grape harvest is very precise, determined by the sugar and acid levels of the grapes, it also helps that they are not all ripe at the same time!
The grape varieties grown are both white and red, some well-known and some newly selected clones. They have been chosen to make a range of white and rose still and sparkling wines. We aim to have a selection of blended and single varietal wines ranging from medium dry to off-dry styles.
The white varieties are Solaris, Chardonnay, Reichensteiner, Sauvignon Blanc and Bacchus.
The red varieties are Rondo, Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Cortis.
The management of the vineyard throughout the season is very labour intensive. Our vines are grown on a ‘double-guyot’ system, pruned back to two canes and tied down to the trellis over the winter months. This creates an upwardly trained canopy throughout the summer, which needs tying in, whilst excess leaves and shoots are removed by hand. With careful management to avoid various fungal and insect threats, we reap the reward when the grapes achieve the perfect balance of sugars and acidity. Harvest time in September and October is accompanied by daily picnics and much wine, in true continental style!
The vineyard is open to the public, with self guided maps available from the farmshop, open Monday to Saturday 9am – 5pm.