Featured Profiles - Fruit & Vine

Featured Profiles

A business built on sustainability, a respect for nature and a love of wine

As a pioneer for English sparkling wines, Balfour Winery has a long and celebrated history. Editor Rachel Hicks caught up with Balfour’s head winemaker, Fergus Elias, to find out what it takes to win gold on the world wine stage.

“A rising tide floats many boats”: Authenticity and collaboration are key for Somerset orchard

Creating ciders with 100% fruit juice rather than imported concentrates is a point of principle for Dowding’s Apple Juice & Cider, based in Somerset. Deputy editor Sarah Kidby spoke to farm owner Oliver Dowding, on the challenges facing smaller producers, the importance of working with other local businesses, and how the organic farm uses innovative approaches to tackle pest and disease problems.

A fresh approach to soft fruit growing

Tenant farmer Sandy Booth is an innovator at heart, having launched a unique fruit snack to help tackle waste – as well as taking a novel approach to vine growing in the hopes of producing the UK’s first Merlot. Sarah Kidby caught up with Sandy to hear more about the farm’s history, key challenges and unique approaches.

Producing quality wine using biodynamics and ‘eggs’

After selling his IT business and taking early retirement, a chance meeting with Stephen Skelton at a conference convinced Nick Wenman that you could make great wine in the UK. In 2009 Nick planted Albury Organic Vineyard, finally fulfilling his dream of owning a vineyard and making quality biodynamic wine. Editor Rachel Hicks chatted with him.

Growing blackcurrants amid increasing climate challenges

With the UK’s climate shifting towards more extreme weather, growing blackcurrants is becoming increasingly challenging for sixth-generation farmer Nick Overy, whose family has been producing the crop under contract with Ribena for 30 years.

Vineyard Profile: Burnt House Vineyard

Brother-and-sister team, Catherine and James Scarff are fourth-generation farmers, who have successfully diversified part of their arable acreage into a successful vineyard with a stunning tasting room; and they have even bigger ideas for the future.

Fruit Grower Profile: Belvoir Farm

Nestled in the idyllic Vale of Belvoir in Leicestershire lies Belvoir Farm. At 60 acres, their organic elderflower plantation is the largest in the UK. Fruit & Vine met with owner Peverel Manners, alongside farm manager Keith Challen, at the start of their elderflower harvest.

Fruit Grower Profile: Hugh Lowe Farms

Having grown fruit since Victorian times, Hugh Lowe Farms has a strong sense of tradition embedded into its practices. However, owner and managing director Marion Regan believes growth is driven by moving along with time, as well as having an unrelenting passion for growing better fruit, year after year.

Tuffon Hall: Diversification is a key driver for family-run vineyard

Nestled in the north Essex countryside, Tuffon Hall Vineyard has much to offer wine lovers thanks to its reputation for producing award-winning sparkling and still wines. More recently however, the estate has also become a popular staycation destination.

Vineyard Profile: White Castle Vineyard

Initially a couple’s retirement dream, White Castle Vineyard has become much more than that. Through years of dedicated work, owners Robb and Nicola Merchant have converted what was once a run-down dairy farm into a thriving enterprise that is now at the forefront of Welsh wine production, renowned for crafting quality wines with care and sustainability.

Grower Profile: Dingle Farm

Dingle Farm grows around 60 different varieties of cherries, apricots and plums in Worcestershire, including a number of trial varieties – with its key aims being to increase yields and fruit size, and to find later varieties. Deputy editor Sarah Kidby spoke to farm manager Matt Foster to find out more.

Tinwood Estate: From salad to sparking wine

Tinwood Estate is a family-owned vineyard growing high-quality grapes that produce fine English sparkling wine. Located on the edge of the South Downs near Chichester in Sussex, owner Art Tukker has seen the parcel of land go through significant changes over the years.

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