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This website was launched 9 December 1999

Latest update:
26 October 2012

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National Trust set to destroy prize winning English vineyard
Ickworth Vineyard's prize winning wines16 years ago a vineyard was planted at Ickworth House near Bury St.Edmunds in Suffolk. Its wines have become prize-winners. But even though it is the only commercial vineyard at a National Trust house, the Trust has decided it has to go so that the land it is on can be recreated as a traditional walled garden - no doubt at great expense. This is, apparently, the policy of the National Trust to do at every one of their properties which once had a walled garden. The owners of the vineyard, who are tenants of the National Trust, have been given until February 2013 to grub up the vineyard, without any compensation, even though the vines are now at their most productive. The 2.5 acre vineyard was planted and run by Charles and Jillian Macready who are now endeavouring to sell individual vines so they have a further life in people's gardens.See their website for more information - click here
Editor's comment: The National Trust really seems to have lost its way these days and seems to have become just another large corporation with highly paid top executives trying to maximise footfall and revenues. All over the country the Trust has been spending millions of pounds of its members and donors money in building highly expensive and unnecessary "visitor centres", restaurants and tea rooms which are then too expensive for many members to actually use. The Trust has also seriously "dumbed down" the experience of its properties and seems to be turning many of its gradually into sort of history theme parks. This latest decision to remove a unique feature from one of its properties (Ickworth Vineyard) is just another example of the autocratic style of the Trust. The sheer sacrilege of grubbing-up a productive and prize-wining vineyard is almost beyond belief. Given that this vineyard is unique why could Ickworth not have been spared this treatment - a recreated walled garden cannot be more than a pastiche or facsimile of what was once there and are there not many dozens of other National Trust houses which could have their walled gardens recreated before Ickworth?
    I have been a member of the Trust for 40 years, but as from the next renewal date, no longer! I would urge all National Trust members who feel likewise to contact the Trust and tell them they will not be renewing their membership (or leaving money in their wills to the National Trust to be squandered on unnecessary and expensive pet projects of overpaid executives). .
Bob Tarr, editor & webmaster

Key facts about English wine
There are now around 400 English vineyards producing around 2m bottles per year "Quality wines" are subject to rigorous controls.
The quality of "Table wines" is not assured but there are gems to be found
Where's the biggest English vineyard? Only 20 miles from London (Denbies, Dorking - 250 acres)
Whites - wide variety, but traditional English whites have floral bouquets & high acidity - very refreshing! Reds - Once thought impossible - but it is and they vary from light, thru mellow and even full-bodied Sparkling - The great success story - similar soils to champagne and edgier climate mean truly great English sparkling wines - as evidenced in blind-tasting international competitions where some English sparkling wines now beat the best of Champagnes
Stanlake Park Wine Estate has a rich and fascinating history going back to the 12th Century. The first vines were planted by Jon Leighton in 1979 and the vineyard has now expanded to 25 acres with over 20,000 vines. Stanlake Park now grows the greatest number of grape varieties in England – including the classic Champagne varieties Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The vineyard offers wine tastings for a modest charge and has a vineyard shop . Light lunches and snacks are available and the home shopper can order wines online.
To visit our vineyards listings page
- click here
Have you discovered English wine?
Wine from grapes grown in a vineyard at Walthamstow, just 6 miles from the centre of London, was enjoyed by the famous diarist Samuel Pepys in 1667 – “I at Sir W.Batten's …. and there for joy he did give the company that were there a bottle or two of his own last year's wine growing at Walthamstow, than which the whole company said they never drank better foreign wine in their lives”
Today it is even easier to find English wine which stands up well against wines from any part of the world
- welcome to our website which can help you learn about English wine.
Bob Tarr, webmaster
70 acres of vines at Three Choirs Vineyards, Newent, Gloucestershire - photo copyright Three Choirs Vineyards 2004Three Choirs Vineyards (left) is just one of the English vineyards you can find on this website -please visit it both in our directory of vineyards and in the real world - it's a great day out with a visitor centre and vineyard and winery tour, a wine & gift shop and AA Two Rosette restaurant open for lunches and dinners. You can even stay there in the on-site hotel and really immerse yourself in the romance of the vine (if the romance is of a different kind you can get married there too!). Visit our directory of vineyards - click here
A bunch of Seyval Blanc grapes  from the 2003 harvest - copyright 2003
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