Ever wondered what it’s like running a 30-acre vineyard in the West Midlands? Well, it’s certainly not a walk in the park, especially when the weather goes against you. But it is incredibly rewarding when the fruit (quite literally) of your labour becomes a range of award-winning English wines that are stocked in both M&S and Waitrose.
This year, luckily, the weather has been very much on our side, and we’re expecting a bumper harvest as a result!
Every harvest – which begins around September time – we begin the process of picking every single grape grown here, all by hand. We certainly don’t do it by ourselves though, as we’re fortunate enough to have a wonderful group of volunteers who come back each year to help us out.
Speaking to the Express & Star last harvest, our founder Martin Vickers gave a little background:
“All of our grapes are picked by volunteers. We’ve got a good following of local people, mostly retired, who over the years just love coming along and helping out. It’s a gathering of old friends every year. We go for five weeks and they all have a lunch at the end and a good get-together. All picked by hand, we’ve got 15 different varieties to pick.”
In fact, one of our pickers even celebrated her 97th birthday with us last year!
Fancy getting involved? Our harvest is open to all volunteers, even if it’s just for an afternoon! Picking takes place every weekday for approximately 4-6 weeks beginning, usually, in September (date TBC). The morning session takes place between 9am – 12pm, followed by a break for lunch, then the afternoon session takes place between 1pm – 4pm. All you need is a pair of gloves, a packed lunch (we provide the drinks), and a waterproof coat – you can never be too careful with the British weather!
Our team may be volunteers, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t look after them – each picker takes home a bottle of still wine of their choosing, per half-day that they work!
If you’re interested in getting involved, please email your name and a telephone number to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll be in touch closer to the time (don’t worry, there’s no commitment to get involved yet).