If so, it might as well add ‘Bonne dégustation!’ For winemakers – or should we say viticulteurs? – Alan and Faye Pratt are ready and waiting for oenophiles – that’s winelovers to you and me – at their Lily Farm estate in Knowle, just a few miles west of Budleigh.
Above: Alan and Faye Pratt proudly show off a bottle of their Lily Farm Vineyard wine.
The first day of Budleigh’s Gala Week celebrations last Saturday also marked the showcasing of the couple’s wine from their celebrated red grapes. The event coincided with Devon Wine Week, which is part of English Wine Week. A vineyard tour and wine-tasting were on offer to visitors, with a small charge made to benefit Devon-based charity Hospiscare.
The couple amazed fellow vineyard owners recently when their first ever crop was ready for harvesting a month before anywhere else in the UK. They harvested their first crop of Rondo grapes in early September 2007, but the variety is not usually picked until early October. Above: Lily Farm vineyard, Knowle
There are nearly 400 commercial vineyards in England and Wales covering approximately 2000 acres of land in total, ad producing around 2m bottles per year. Nearly all are in the southern half of England and Wales. Most English and Welsh vineyards are small (less than 5 acres), many very small (less than 1 acre). Only a small number exceed 25 acres and just a handful 50 acres. The largest, at Dorking, Surrey, has around 200 acres of vines under cultivation.
More information about Lily Farm can be found at http://www.lilyfarmvineyard.com/