Our Vineyard Story
Vineyards in the UK aren’t as mad as you might think; there is evidence of vines being planted all across the south of England way back when the Romans occupied the now British Isles. Now this is where our story gets interesting. We have had archaeological digs undertaken on our little piece of Wiltshire as we noticed a depression running across the land as well other interesting features in some of the fields. Subsequently, we found evidence of an Iron age settlement (a different period in history altogether) as well as evidence that the Romans had been in the area. We have found Roman coins, bucket loads of fine Roman pottery and evidence of grape seeds in the ditch that runs through the land. Whether that means grapes were grown or eaten in the area I guess we’ll never know, but one thing we can bet on is that wine was consumed for sure. You can imagine our excitement and this got us thinking. Could planting a vineyard for wine production be a viable diversification of the farm?
At this point in time the we were a relatively young family, with the children either in the final days of school or heading off to university and we decided that we would postpone the idea until the younglings had found themselves. If you hadn’t already guessed it by now, they found themselves right back at home, much to Pam and Jeremy’s delight. Together we committed to the future of this new and exciting adventure.
So, in 2015, we had our little piece of Wiltshire independently surveyed by two different vineyard consultants and we made a collective decision to plant in the following spring.
Going into this venture we developed a core business plan that we would stick to in order to achieve our most basic goals. In line with these goals we wanted to plant grape varieties that will stand the test of time both in terms of quality and recognisability for us, as well as the our guests and future customers. We also wanted to achieve commercial viability as this would be so we could built a legacy business with a recognisable brand.
With these goals in mind and our site specific characteristics, we wanted to plant the best varieties to make a premium sparkling wine. What’s the most premium sparkling wine that commands a good price? Champagne. So this is where the UK took a few pointers and thus, chardonnay and pinot noir have become the most widely planted grape varieties in the UK.
We have planted Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier varieties.
The soil and underlying geography is sandy clay loam on chalk. This makes our land well suited for Champagne varieties.
Fast forward to May 2016, 8 acres of the land had been deep ploughed and power-harrowed to create a nice medium for the vines to be planted into. We also added some fertilisers to help the vines establish themselves in their early years. Land preparation is crucial in establishing a healthy and quality vineyard that will produce a premium wine grapes for years to come.
In 2017 we planted an additional 2 acres taking our total land under vine to 10 acres. We have another 10 acres of land currently under our ownership that we have earmarked for planting in 2021.
The name Bluestone stemmed from the Neolithic icon that is Stonehenge. The Bluestones make up the outer circle of the Henge. Stonehenge has played a hugely important role to Wiltshire for thousands of years and is shrouded in mystery. It demonstrates the importance of the chalk plain in the local area where we have planted. In years to come the vines will have their roots clinging onto the very bedrock that has seen so much history, so much life. We hope to capture this in our wines. The vibrancy of this life of the millennia past and deep imbedded history, the freshness of the natural Wiltshire countryside paired with our excitement in the bubbles.