Head down to rural East Sussex, for your chance to meet one of the UK’s true eco-pioneers. Sedlescombe Vineyard likes being first. Not only the first organic vineyard in 1979, but as of late 2010, Sedlescombe is home to England’s first biodynamic vineyard.
Roy and Irma Cook now run 23 acres in several plots including the original 10-acre south-facing plot by their friendly visitor centre and shop in Sedlescombe, as well as the vineyard behind the famous moated castle at Bodiam.
“Our vineyards, organic for 30 years, are now teeming with wild-life”, says Roy. “Insects are attracted to the flowering green manure cover crops grown to improve soil fertility, and in turn they attract birds with resident pheasants enjoying the cover these crops provide”. Since the biodynamic conversion the organic vineyards are also in tune with the earth’s rhythms. The aptly named ‘First Release’ is a dry white whose label features the moon – a nod to the incorporation of lunar and cosmic rhythms in their ‘new age’ farming methods.
The Vineyard & Woodland Nature Trail are a ‘must do’ experience if you’re anywhere near historic 1066 Country. Whether you choose the self-guided tour or join up with a group, all visits end with a tutored tasting of a selection of Sedlescombe wines, fruit juices and liqueurs.
OPEN: 10.30am to 5.30pm Every Day
Nearby there’s the delights of Bodiam Castle for the young and those young at heart. Often used in films, the vineyards stretch down to its borders.
UK Phone Number: 01580 830715 (or International: 441580 830715)
Sedlescombe Organic Vineyard