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Warden Abbey - The Community Vineyard - Newsletter November 2012

Author: Jane Markham Vineyard Project Manager, Warden Abbey Vineyard Published: 28th November 2012 11:57
Warden Abbey grape harvest - small but promising!

Warden Abbey Vineyard - November 2012Warden Abbey Vineyard will be making wine in 2012, despite the notoriously wet conditions throughout the year that have caused problems for all English vineyards.

Thankfully we had a great turnout of almost 50 volunteers and 15 students to pick the grapes on harvest day on 19th October (a couple of weeks later than usual thanks to the unseasonably cold spring). This meant that, although the total crop was small, we were able to rigorously hand select the best grapes, and the flavours are promising. This is particularly good news following the disappointment of having no harvest in 2011.

Warden Abbey Vineyard - November 2012Despite the slim pickings, the grape harvest is always lots of fun, and everyone was still smiling as we tucked into the post-harvest lunch and enjoyed a glass or two of Warden Abbey's 2010 wine, the Reformer!

Ian Whiting from Bedford Camera Club took some fabulous photos on the day. Check out the slideshow on the vineyard website - go to http://www.wardenvineyard.org.uk/ and click on the new Gallery tab.

Looking for Christmas inspiration?? Come to the Gifts for Christmas and Love Food Festival at the Mansion, Old Warden Park, Old Warden: Friday 30th November - Sunday 2nd December, 10am-5pm

Warden Abbey Vineyard - November 2012We are really excited to have a stall at this new three day major event being held in the Mansion at Shuttleworth - only possible because so many volunteers are giving time to help out on the stall. You will be able to buy our award-winning wine "The Reformer 2010" which makes a fantastic present - or enjoy it yourself! It's great with Christmas nibbles, smoked salmon, hard cheeses, or just on its own. Special gift-wrapped and presentation bottles will also be on sale. All sales go to Bedfordshire Rural Communities Charity (BRCC) to help keep the community vineyard going. Thank you for your support.

Warden Abbey Vineyard - November 2012Also, BRCC has just produced its 2013 calendar, Scenes of Bedfordshire, which will be available from our stall. Alternatively you can order the calendar online for £7.50 + P&P www.bedsrcc.org.uk/publications/

The Gifts for Christmas & Love Food Festival offers you the chance to purchase unusual and luxurious gifts, delicious food and drink and handmade and original British made craft. It all takes place within the estate buildings at Shuttleworth, allowing you to browse and buy in comfort regardless of the weather. As well as gifts, craft, food and drink, the 2012 festival features:

Masterclass Area: Free workshops including Knife Skills, Burger Making, Edible Gifts - chocolate truffles.

Cookery Theatre: Sausage Making Demos, Coffee Tasting, Christmas with all the Trimmings

Children's Cookery School: Gingerbread Men, Shortbread, Reindeer Muffins

Craft Demonstrations: There will be various traditional craft demonstrations taking place throughout the weekend including pole lathe demonstrations from Richard Rood of Rood Wood.

Arts & Crafts Area: This attraction offers children the chance to let their imaginations run riot making princess and pirate masks.

Admission: Adults £4.50, Seniors £4.00, Children (6-16) £1.00, Family Ticket (2 Adults & 2 Children) £10.00 - with reductions if you buy in advance from the festival website.

For more details of this event, including timings of workshops, visit http://www.lovefoodfestivals.co.uk/shuttleworth.html

Don't miss out - other places to buy the Reformer 2010

If you can't get to the festival, don't forget our regular stockists!

  • The Kings Arms in Cardington
  • Cambridge Wine Merchants in Ampthill
  • Woburn Country Foods in Haynes West End
  • Woodview Farm Shop in Gamlingay
Christmas Sale of Warden Abbey Wines at The Stable Yard, Southill Park - 2nd December 2012, 10.30am-3.30pm

The Southill Estate is holding its Christmas Sale of its remaining wines from 2008 and earlier, produced before the vineyard was leased to BRCC and Shuttleworth College. With free entry and parking, you will be able to taste and buy their range of prize winning wines all at half price, together with 2007 sparkling wine. There will also be food to buy from Summerhill Farm Shop and an RNLI Gift Stall. Follow the signs from Southill Village. For more information about this event, contact: sueP@southillestate.co.uk

Looking ahead

Warden Abbey Vineyard - November 2012It seems strange to think that in only a few weeks time, the annual cycle starts all over again as we get to grips with the mammoth task of winter-pruning again. I will let you all know when we are due to start pruning sessions. New volunteers are very welcome - please let me know if you are interested in joining in and want to receive our "Volunteers Bulletin" which is a more frequent email that details upcoming volunteer sessions.

The vineyard has been used this year by several local schools and we are also working with other local charities such as Autism Bedfordshire, Bedford & District Cerebral Palsy Society, Beds & Luton Mind and the Road Victims Trust. The vineyard has also provided placements for clients on BRCC's Volunteering into Employment scheme. We will be looking to extend this work into 2013, as well as developing vineyard tours and other activities, and selling our wine at events.

Jane Markham, Vineyard Project Manager, Warden Abbey Vineyard
07981 113714


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