4 great vineyards in Devon you might not know about
- Credit: Tony Roddam @FlyMyCourse
REBECCA MITCHELL goes off the beaten track to tell us about some hidden gems amongst our Devon vineyards
Brickhouse Vineyard near Kenton, lies on the eastern slope of Haldon Hill, below Mamhead. Joanna Pisko and her husband Matt Szczepura left London in January 2016, and made Devon home for their two daughters.
They bought a 20-acre estate with existing vineyard, planted in 2008, and have created a piece of heaven in Devon with far-reaching views over the River Exe estuary. They renovated a beautiful, thatched Devon round-house, landscaped the gardens, and made improvements to the vineyard.
Brickhouse produces two still wines: a delicious Sauvignon Blanc and aromatic Rosé blend of Pinot Noir and Regent. Further plantings of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir will come into production later this year. They offer private tours and tastings including wine and cheese pairing and wine & food matching at the cellar door.
Also specialising in small, intimate and elopement weddings, with a flexible event space for private parties and corporate clients. Final Fridays are a recent addition to their events calendar with wine, food and music to enjoy on the last Friday of each month.
To visit the cellar-door or plan an event contact Joanna and Matt (Tel: 01626 682287).
Dalwood Vineyard is located near Axminster, in East Devon. The idea to plant a vineyard here was born over a skittles match in the Tuckers Arms pub in Dalwood - just four mates having a laugh and one remarked that Romans grew vines on nearby Danes Hill.
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So six Dalwood villagers made it happen and Dalwood Vineyard Syndicate was formed, headed by Mike Huskins and his wife Jo, with John and Melanie Gostling, and Dave and Veronica Dower, and Les White who owns the vineyard land.
They each have day jobs in addition to the laborious work of maintaining the vineyard. The first acre of Seyval Blanc was planted in 2009, and the next year plantings increased to 3,000 vines including Solaris, Madeleine Angevine and Pinot Noir - each chosen to withstand the unpredictable weather.
This south-west facing site produced its first crop in 2013 dedicated solely to sparkling wine. The hobby vineyard turned into a fully-fledged commercial enterprise making still and sparkling wines, gaining national recognition for every wine they have produced, including Bronze at the Decanter World Wine Awards for the Dalwood Brut 2016.
To find out more about tastings, tours, parties and barbecues contact Mike (Tel: 07909 545426).
Old Walls Vineyard lies on a historic 2,000 year old site with Roman origins, near Bishopsteignton. This south-facing vineyard overlooks the Teign estuary, benefiting from a perfect micro-climate for grape-growing - the Romans certainly chose the best spots in Devon to plant vines. Old Walls Vineyard is named after the ruins of a nearby 13th century Bishop's Palace.
Three investment partners took over the vineyard in June 2017 from the previous owners, Ken and Lesley Dawe, who planted the vines in 2002. Together, Justin Head, Mike Smyth and Paul Campbell-Smith have modernised the visitor facilities with a brand new function room opening in July 2019 and stylish restaurant called Regent's Bistro in April 2018.
Visitors can taste still and sparkling wines made from Reichensteiner, Bacchus, Auxerrois, Sauvignon Blanc, Rondo, Regent, Dornfelder and Pinot-Noir Précoce at the cellar-door.
Stay overnight with a Vineyard Mini-Break in six comfortable, contemporary Country Lodges, or the Artist's Retreat surrounded by vines and breathtaking views. Rent a Vine or join their Vine Owners Club and receive a special owner's case of wine.
For visits and accommodation contact Justin (Tel: 01626 770877).
Huxbear Vineyard is nestled in the Teign Valley, close to Chudleigh on the Huxbear House estate dating back to the 1600s. The vineyard was planted by Ben and Lucy Holland in 2007 on the edge of the Dartmoor National Park.
A newly converted barn housing their cellar-door tasting room opens soon to welcome visitors. The Huxbear label depicts the Ursa Major (Great Bear) constellation which hangs in the night sky above the vineyard. Two blocks of vines, totalling 14.5 acres, are planted with 16,500 vines which yielded their first harvest in 2010.
The southerly aspect is planted with Burgundian clones of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir destined for Huxbear sparkling wine. The south-west facing block is home to Champagne clones of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier also used for sparkling production; plus German varieties which ripen well in the Devon climate including: Bacchus, Siegerrebe and Schonberger for their still wines.
Grapes are hand-harvested to ensure the quality of their three wines: Classic Sparkling, single varietal Bacchus, and 'Corbinian' still white blend of Siegerrebe and Schonberger.
Contact Ben and Lucy to arrange a tour and tasting (Tel: 07846 407713).