Future looks bright for Crouch Valley wine region - Fruit & Vine

Future looks bright for Crouch Valley wine region

McNeill Vineyard Management says it is confident of a bright future for the Crouch Valley wine region. As the MVM team expands with two new hires, founder Duncan McNeill has a clear vision – which is for “Crouch Valley to become the next Central Otago or Oregon within the next 10 years.”

MVM team
MVM founder and CEO Duncan McNeill (centre) is pictured with MVM’s vineyard team.

Leading UK vineyard services company, McNeill Vineyard Management, is expanding its team with two key hires as it looks to drive forward the next phase of vineyard development in Essex’s now-famous Crouch Valley wine region.

Successful strategic alliance

Viticulturist and company founder, Duncan McNeill, who has been widely credited as establishing the region as a premier producer of English wines, will be supported by new operations manager, Umut Yesil and labour coordinator, Rachel Leishman.

Yesil, who also co-owns Riverview Crouch Valley Vineyard, will be responsible for the implementation of management plans, tracking workflows and enabling logistics for MVM, which works with over 20 vineyards across 400 acres throughout southern Essex.

Leishman will oversee the coordination of MVM’s manual labour teams on the ground from winter pruning to summertime leaf canopy management, right through to grape harvesting.

In 2022, MVM also formed a successful strategic alliance with Mikey Hollington of Crow’s Lane Estate Contracting who, following significant investment, has taken on the role of machinery operations for MVM according to McNeill’s specifications.

In addition, a new partnership with an Essex-based contract winery is in the offing, which should be operational for the 2024 vintage and is working with a variety of new and emerging wine brands.

Exciting chapter

Duncan McNeill, an alumni of Eastern Insitute of Technology Hawkes Bay, New Zealand and Plumpton College, West Sussex, began his viticulture career in New Zealand. He said: “This is an incredibly exciting chapter for MVM and the Crouch Valley as we welcome Umut and Rachel to the team and establish new strategic industry partnerships to facilitate the ever-growing needs of our new and existing clients.

MVM Team
Pictured (l-r) are MVM operations manager, Umut Yesil; Crows Lane Estate Contracting owner, Mikey Hollington; MVM company director, Nadine McNeill; MVM founder and CEO, Duncan McNeill; and MVM labour coordinator, Rachel Leishman.

“MVM established many of the vineyards we see in the Crouch Valley today, and we’re proud to be the pioneers of its premium, quality grapes. We’re passionate about propelling Crouch Valley into an exciting new era of wine production and it’s my aim that within the next decade this area will be considered the UK’s answer to Central Otago or Oregon as a producer of world class still wines.

“What we’re seeing is a real turning point for this region as it evolves from its grape farming roots, into a world-class wine production area that is synonymous with the production of the very finest English wines.

“The Crouch Valley is a place very close to my heart and there’s something very special happening here at the moment, with a real sense of unity and momentum amongst a growing number of incredibly exciting wine producers. Together, I feel confident that we can really inspire the next chapter in the Crouch Valley story.”

MVM was established in 2011 and works with a variety of the UK’s most prestigious and well-known vineyards and wineries.

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