Tue 28 Oct 2014
As featured in our November issue of Palmers Green & Southgate LIFE magazine
Bees buzzing among the vines; grape bunches ripening in the sun; rows of vines planted on south facing slopes – Tuscany? Provence? No: Enfield!
Enfield has its very own community-led vineyard run and managed by local volunteers. Forty Hall Community Vineyard was first launched in 2009 and now has ten acres of land under vine. London’s only commercial scale vineyard, Forty Hall Vineyard is situated at Forty Hall Farm, an organic farm owned by Enfield Council and managed by Capel Manor College. The College provides the land for the vineyard venture and is a key partner in the enterprise.
Established as a small, independent social enterprise, the vineyard also operates as a health and wellbeing project offering volunteering opportunities to local people with a wide range of support needs. People love working out in the open air, being involved in an unusual community project and being part of a large and friendly team. It is hard work and volunteers work throughout the year in all seasons and weather. Vines take between 3-5 years to mature and bear fruit and there are many challenges on the way to each harvest including late spring frosts which can damage the fruit buds, drought (hard to imagine at the moment), lack of sun and the ever-present competition from weeds. The vineyard and farm are organic so no pesticides or chemical weed killers are used, making plenty of weeding for the volunteers. Future plans include putting the farm’s shire horse, Wallace, to work in the vineyard puling a special horse-drawn vineyard plough bought from Italy.
Vines planted include the Champagne varieties Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier and two less well-known varieties for still white wine, Bacchus and Ortega. All these varieties grow well and ripen successfully in our marginal wine-growing climate and English wines, both still and sparkling, now regularly win international awards, outclassing even long established Champagnes.
The vineyard hopes, eventually, to produce upwards of 10,000 bottles of still and sparkling white wine a year. The wine is made naturally using minimal interventions and the sparkling wines are made in the traditional Champagne method. Will Davenport of Davenport Vineyards http://www.davenportvineyards.co.uk/ awards.html, who makes Forty Hall Vineyard’s wine, was recently awarded the prestigious Wine of the Year 2014 Gold Medal for his sparkling wine. So Forty Hall Vineyard’s grapes are in good hands!
The first very small harvest took place in 2013 and the second harvest has just been picked. Quantities are still too low to launch Forty Hall wines on the open market just yet. Demand for the wines is high, especially for the first ever vintage of London sparkling wine which will be released in Sept 2015. Currently the only way to secure a bottle of Forty Hall Vineyard wine is through sponsorship of the project. Vine sponsorship makes an ideal present for Christmas or a special occasion.
For more details about Forty Hall Vineyard’s sponsorship scheme please go to
Forty Hall Community Vineyard, Gardener's Rest,
Forty Hall Farm, Forty Hill, Enfield, EN2 9HA
Looking for a unique Christmas gift? An £80 Sparkling Wine Sponsorship from Forty Hall Vineyard, London’s only commercial scale vineyard, will gift a bottle of quality sparkling wine from the vineyard’s exclusive first vintage (available September 2015) to your named recipient, and helpsupport the organisation’s health programme for local people.
Forty Hall & Estate have plenty of activities for all the family throughout the year, see their website for more details www.fortyhallestate.co.uk
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