Vineyard's £250,000 new winery presses its first grapes
- Credit: Andrew Waddison / AW PR
The first grapes have been pressed at a new £250,000 winery on a family farm near Burnham Market.
The Cobble Hill vineyard started its 2021 harvest season by picking its Bacchus grapes.
They were transported to the winery on a 1960s tractor - the only one which would fit between the rows of vines.
The grapes were crushed and de-stemmed before being pumped into the state-of-the-art press to make 1,000 litres of grape juice per day, which is now in the new fermentation tanks.
The 2020 Cobble Hill Bacchus wine won a Silver Medal at the Wines of Great Britain Awards, and vineyard owner Robert Perowne is hoping for another quality vintage this year.
“I am so proud of our team and our wine, and to see the new winery operating for the first time is just wonderful," he said.
"I am grateful to Defra, who have awarded us a 40pc grant towards the cost of the new winery, which we hope will be great for tourism and employment in the local area.
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"We are very excited to be able to produce our wine completely in house, and wish to thank our local delis, suppliers and customers who have been so supportive of us. Here’s hoping that 2021 will produce another award-winning vintage."
Cobble Hill is a nine-acre vineyard growing Bacchus, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grape varieties, which were first planted in 2016 with the first wine produced in 2018.
Mr Perowne’s family have farmed the land for generations before diversifying into wine, as well as producing other arable crops.
The weather has been challenging this year, with the harvest taking place a few weeks later than usual - however the first analysis of the press shows good sugar and acidity levels, raising hopes of a promising vintage.
The coronavirus pandemic has also affected the availability of labour, but a team effort within the local community has ensured that the harvest is going ahead at "a great pace".
Mr Perowne said: “Labour has been a problem this year, but we have been blessed by the support of the local community, friends and family to get the harvest started."