FLINT, GRAVEL, SUNSHINE
South Norfolk is thought be one of the combined driest and sunniest regions in the UK. This factor as well as the free-draining gravel and flint soil gave us the confidence to plant Flint Vineyard.
The site itself overlooks the villages of Earsham and Bungay of the Waveney Valley. Facing south-east, the vines catch the early morning sun, which also heats up the sandy soil quickly. Planted in 2016, the vines won’t be cropped until 2019 to ensure they are established as healthily as possible. Until this time, Ben is working closely with vine growers in East Anglia to source the best grapes possible. 2016, being one of the best on record, provided some fantastic Bacchus, Pinot blanc and Pinot noir; varieties which are all planted at Flint Vineyard.
Flint Vineyard before planting – Feb 2016
At Flint Vineyard, Ben takes a considered approach to viticulture. He believes in a sustainable approach and balancing the best of the organic ethos with the technology available to modern farming.
Grasses will be encouraged in-between rows to prevent erosion and foster a healthy humus in the soil. Pest management will be kept to a minimum and, where essential, in the kindest way possible. For example, our electric deer fence is designed to prevent deer becoming entangled such as can happen with conventional fencing.
“Winemaking starts in the vineyard”
This year, the planting is being extended to the slope in front of the farmhouse at Flint Vineyard. Here, more Bacchus will be planted to give more of the variety which is so well suited to the area.
Tours of the vineyard and winery are available by appointment to visitors where they will be able to gain an in-depth understanding of the vine growing and winemaking processes from Ben, who can explain the equipment, techniques and reasons behind their use at Flint Vineyard.
Preparing the soil at Flint Vineyard
It’s a long-term goal so it pays to prepare well
Flint and gravel soil
The soil is full of gravel, sand and flint: free-draining which the vines love
A family endeavour
Our daughter, Rosie, helping on the day of planting
12,500 new vines planted in April 2016