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THE FOOD & DRINK OF HEREFORDSHIRE, SHROPSHIRE & GLOUCESTERSHIRE

Hop Kilns Vineyard to start sparkling wine production

Hop Kilns Vineyard to start sparkling wine production

THE FROME Valley in Bromyard has been home to hop-growing since the 16th century and the region’s famous hop kiln rooftops form part of the idyllic character of its surrounding villages.

Over the centuries, hop waste has provided a nutrient-rich component to the south-facing slopes here – thus making the Frome Valley perfect for growing vines.

In 2008, the owner of one former hop kiln house in the village of Avenbury, had the soil tested on his south facing slopes. It confirmed that his soil was perfect for wine production. Over the next two years, Hugh Raven fulfilled his lifelong ambition to start his own vineyard and Hop Kilns Vineyard was born.

It was Hugh Raven's lifelong ambition to have his own vineyard and his south-facing slopes at Hop Kilns make it the perfect location for Solaris

It was Hugh Raven’s lifelong ambition to have his own vineyard and his south-facing slopes at Hop Kilns Vineyard make it the perfect location for the Solaris grape

“I chose a single grape variety, Solaris, and planted every single vine myself,” explains wine producer Hugh. Every harvest, he and wife Jane enlist the help of friends and family to pick the grapes.

Hop Kilns Vineyard is completely organic with no pesticides used at any time

Hop Kilns Vineyard is completely organic with no pesticides used at any time – the raven on the label inspired by his surname!

For the first few years there was not enough in the harvest to make his own wine so Hugh’s grapes went into a co-op. Then in 2012 a frost sadly ruined his harvest.

“My first proper harvest came in 2013 and this produced 600 bottles,” he says. It was the first commercial wine for Hop Kilns Vineyard.

This year, Hugh intends to produce the very first sparkling wine for Hop Kilns Vineyard. It will be a single variety fizz from the Solaris grape variety, a rare wine to be made in the UK.

Mr Pheasant's Bird-ict: Great to meet a Raven at Hop Kiln Vineyard and to taste his wonderful wine

Mr Pheasant’s Bird-ict: It was great to meet a Raven at Hop Kiln Vineyard and to taste his wonderful wine!

With unctuous hints of apple blossom and citrus notes on the palate, Solaris should make a very fine sparkling wine. We’re very impressed with the wine at Hop Kilns Vineyard and shows that Herefordshire is well on the way to putting a firm mark on the world’s wine map.

The Hop Kilns Vineyard Solaris wine costs around £14 per bottle and is available to purchase at Hop Pocket Wine Shop, Hay Wines, Legges of Bromyard, The Fold in Bransford as well as Barber & Manuel in Leominster.

 

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