Vineyard planted at Harper Adams University
5th September 2023
Vines have been planted to establish the first vineyard on the Harper Adams University estate – with the grapes potentially ready to produce wine within two years.
The vines were planted under the watchful eye of Professor Frank Vriesekoop, adjunct professor in Food Biotechnology, and with the guidance of Martin Vickers, the founder of the Halfpenny Green Wine Estate in Bobbington, near Bridgnorth.
Professor Vriesekoop said: “Ten different varieties of vines were planted on a 1ha plot by specialist contractor VineWorks, in order to establish a vineyard at Harper Adams that could be a production vineyard, a teaching vineyard, and a research vineyard.
Why introduce a vineyard at Harper Adams?
“There are two drivers for the increase of viticulture and winemaking in the UK. One of these drivers is the development of new grape varieties that provide a mature crop in colder climates. Many of these new varieties also have a strong resistance to pests that would normally make it very difficult to grow grapes in wet and cool climates like the Midlands.
“The second driver will be the notion that global warming has shifted the climate enough to even allow more traditional grape varieties to do well in the UK.”
The vines were planted in early May but are already growing well – and Martin believes that their grapes could be producing wine within two years.
Martin explained: “Depending on conditions and varieties, if they develop a decent cane by the autumn that is capable of over-wintering, then the first small batch of wine could be ready in 2025, and the first decent cropping year for wine would be 2026.”
Professor Vriesekoop added: “I’d like to thank Martin and Halfpenny Green Vineyard […] for their work with us.
“The Vickers family has been a very strong supporter for Harper Adams taking on teaching and research related to viticulture and wine making, and we look forward to working with them as our vineyard develops.”