February update from the vines

February in the vines

All the winter jobs are in full swing as we start our journey towards vintage 2022

So, it’s 2022, a year of positivity, hope and big plans. Big plans are afoot here for sure, so what’s new in the vineyard?

We’ve been rather busy since harvest time so here’s a good old round-up of what has happened, what’s new and what’s coming up in 2022.

With the colder weather comes dormancy for the vines. A time for them to rest and recoup their energy after a great 2021 harvest and a time for us to relax a little too. The end of the year is a great time to catch up on a bit of maintenance and forward planning. Not to mention gearing up to Christmas, which was really something special here and we can safely say we loved every moment of it.

The team enjoyed a well-earned break last month and have returned with a fresh feeling and busy minds full of super ideas. Looking ahead to 2022 we are busy curating a long list of special events for everyone to enjoy. Full details of each event will be released very soon but expect the return of our popular sunset winemakers tours, special foodie evenings, live music and some great new additions to the Kitchen and Shop. After the success of our bank holiday live music day and Christmas evening, there will be lots more, bigger and better than before.

Vines pruning

In the vineyard, the first few months of the year are really rather important. Whilst the vines are happily asleep and leafless we are pruning them, removing old wood and shaping the vine ready for another season. As anyone who has joined us for a tour will no doubt remember, the shape or training method is really important and to get this right means we have to layer up and head out into the cold to do so.

Pruning the vines makes them more vigorous for the year ahead, encouraging new fruitful growth for the new year. By removing old, diseased or damaged growth, encourages new, healthy and strong growth for fruit to emerge from. We don’t cut off everything though. 4-6 nice, straight and healthy shoots are saved and in the spring when the temperatures rise slightly, we start ‘laying down’. This is the process of tying the shoots to the horizontal wires to encourage new shoots to grow from last years’. This means a potentially larger crop can be taken from each vine, by filling the spaces in between each plant to develop more fruit. This is one of my favourite jobs every year as you can really see the progress you’re making as you work your way through the vines. By the time you’re finished you get a few weeks to look at the vineyard and think to yourself, ‘isn’t everything nice and tidy’ before the warm weather kicks the vineyard back to life again and the view turns to a sea of green emerging from the vines. Before we know it, it’ll be summer again!

In the winery, we are slowly but steadily finishing off our 2021 vintage ahead of being bottled in the spring. With just a few months to go before we start filling up shiny new bottles, we are in the middle of testing the wines and very soon it will be time to filter the wines.

We have a new Madeleine Angevine vintage poised ready for release in the near future, as soon as our 2018 vintage finally runs out. You may notice some changes around the vineyard too this year. We are moving fences and preparing new ground ready for new vines to be planted in 2023 alongside our ever-evolving nature area.

There are plenty of exciting projects in the works here in the vines, with much more information to follow soon. For news on events, you can keep up to date here or join our Vine Club for exclusive access to all the latest news and offers below.

 

Tom Hodgetts

Tom Hodgetts

Head wine wizard
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Opening times

9-5pm wed-sun

Christmas opening times

10-4pm BANK HOLIDAYS

Welcome to the club!

We are so glad you decided to join us. We have just sent you an email to confirm your email address then you’ll be a fully-fledged member of our Vine Club.

Celebrate Mother's Day

FREE mimosa or glass of wine for all mums – Let us help make your mum’s day extra special with a trip out to see us in the vines for a delicious local treat in our kitchen.

Alcohol Awareness

We love wine here at Alder Vineyard but it’s useful to remember that wine is of course an alcoholic product. Whilst wine can be enjoyed in moderation, it is important to seek help and advice if you think you, or a loved one is drinking too much. 

You must be 18 or over to purchase wine and other alcoholic products. 

Our Kitchen is well stocked with drinks from across Devon and beyond and proudly includes several non-alcoholic options. This includes non-alcoholic beers, gin-alternatives, mocktails and of course, soft drinks. 

If you think you, or a loved one may need help and support due to alcohol misuse, please use the links below to find incredibly useful charities and resources that can help you. 

Sustainability Statement

We are proudly committed to protecting our environment and the planet in any way we possibly can. Our ethical and sustainable practices are at the heart of what we do here. 

What have we done so far?

  • Introduction of ‘wild areas’. The garden of the Kitchen includes our gorgeous wildflower area that is ever-changing and evolving. We have also set aside a huge area of land below the vineyard which has become our nature haven. We are allowing mother nature to repossess this area, surrounding a beautiful stream. Encouraging wildflowers and native species to thrive on our vineyard land. 
  • 100% of our power comes from renewable provider Octopus, powering the Kitchen, winery and shop. We also use energy-saving light bulbs and other techniques to reduce our uses wherever possible. 
  • We source products and ingredients from countless local suppliers, reducing food miles and supporting other local businesses. 
  • We send no waste to landfill. 100% of our waste is recycled, reused, composted or used to make energy via DCW 
  • We harness a natural spring on the farm to provide water for tasks such as washing vehicles, vineyard work, watering plants and flower beds. We only use mains water for use in the kitchen and winery. 
  • Our own products are bottled in lightweight glass and aluminium caps, meaning our bottles are created, transported and recycled with minimal energy use. 
  • Our entire range is packaged in plastic-free shipping boxes and is delivered to the customer by our courier, APC who use modern, aero-dynamic, fuel-efficient vehicles that are regularly maintained and serviced to reduce carbon emissions. 
  • We promote the use of plastic-free packaging to our suppliers.
  • We employ a wonderful team of local people. Where possible we encourage car sharing, travelling by bike or electric vehicle. 

 

What else do we aim to do in the future:

  • Our goal is to add solar panels and batteries to our building to remove or reduce the need for power to be brought in from elsewhere. 
  • Another mission is always reducing our requirement for the use of chemicals in the vineyard. We have always refused to use insecticides, however we would like to focus on reducing the use of other sprays wherever possible in the near future whilst making use of ever evolving organic alternatives. 
  • We will be partnering with other local companies who can make use of our harvest waste. For example, our red grape skins will be used to make ‘Grappa’ for the first time in 2023.

Accessibility information

This guide is designed to make your visit as fantastic as possible and to give you the opportunity to let us know where and when we can help you with specific needs. 

Our entire building is wheelchair friendly and we will always endeavour to cater for any specific need or requirement. 

If there is anything we can do that is not mentioned in this guide, please do let us know by emailing hello@aldervineyard.uk or calling 01566783409 ahead of your visit. 

 

Level Access:

  • Our entire building is on one level, meaning you can get around easily with a wheelchair. 
  • You can park directly in front of the building entrance, on a flat paved area. From here you can access the café, our unisex accessible toilets, outside terrace, and the winery. 
  • Please note: If you are joining us for a tour, this does involve a walk around the vineyard which is unfortunately not wheelchair friendly. Due to the terrain of the vineyard, a steep hill and lack of hard walkways this is not suitable for wheelchair users or those who struggle to walk. For more information, or to discuss joining a tour which can be adapted to be accessible please email tom@aldervineyard.uk. We will endeavour to adapt the tour to suit your individual needs where possible. 

 

Hearing:

  • Our café is a modern space designed for the very best social eating experiences. 
  • We have a fantastic, self-made, playlist of music to provide a relaxed atmosphere whilst not being imposing as you are eating. However we understand that might not be ideal for some. Each speaker in the ceiling is individually controlled and can be turned off to make a specific area quieter. Please just let us know when booking if you prefer a quiet space and we can choose a table more suited to this and turn the music off in that area. 
  • We have invested in large, padded photographs for the café walls which are actually sound buffering panels in disguise. This, along with our chair socks reduces the sound in the café as well. 
  • There are no speakers outside, however the outside area is not covered so we cant guarantee this will be suitable on wet/cold/windy days. 
  • All of our team are trained to be able to help you as much as we possibly can. 

 

Visual

  • Our café is designed around full height windows and have dark grey frames to make them stand out as much as possible.
  • The walls and doors have high colour contrast.
  • Our team would be more than happy to read the menu to you if you have vision problems as well as answer any questions you may have. 

 

General

  • We have a complimentary ticket system for personal assistants or carers. 
  • Our whole team has been trained to help in any way possible to ensure the best experience. 
  • We have an emergency evacuation protocol in place for disabled visitors. 

We have your Booking!

We will check our availability and be in touch soon to discuss your private group tour booking via email. 

We are Covid secure

Yours and our teams safety is our number 1 priority. We have made a number of changes in the vines to keep us all safe. This is under constant review and will be updated when the government advice changes.

safe travels

We have been verified by Visit England as ‘Good to go’

Social distancing

Please keep to a 2m distance when you visit. We have set all our tables at least 1.5m apart and do recommend face coverings in all indoor areas. Our team will still be wearing face covering when around you too.

Tables size limits

To continue to keep us safe in the vines we are keeping our tables limited to 10 people. We can accommodate larger groups but please get in touch to discuss any 10+ bookings with us.

Hand washing & cleaning

We have introduced a number of hand cleaning stations and guests are required to use hand sanatisor on entry. Our team are washing their hands between each customer and we are disinfecting all tables and chairs between use.

Payment

We are offering table service in the kitchen and advice using contactless or card payments where possible.

We have your Booking!

We will check our availability and be in-touch soon to confirm your table via email.

Booking for today?
Please call us on 01566 783 409 as we may not get to your email in time. 

We have your entry!

We’ve got our fingers crossed for you. We will send you an email to confirm your entry and we will be back in touch once the competition closes. Good luck!

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