A two-year search for land to rent or purchase for a vineyard has led to North Devon’s only commercial vineyard, Summermoor Vineyard, reopen under the management of a new producer, Quance Wines, founded by one of English wine’s youngest participants.
Jamie Quance-Woodland, barely into his twenties, has taken the first step towards his first large scale vine growing experience, having only grown vines in the garden previously.
Vineyard manager and director Quance-Woodland says: “I had been looking for land to either rent or purchase for the past 18 – 24 months, and after a couple of let downs with land fall-throughs, around two months ago I was contacted by a friend and fellow vineyard owner from Winkleigh advising he thought he may have found me a vineyard to rent. So I went out and had a wonder around and two weeks later I had signed the agreement to take on the management of the site.”
Quance-Woodland will keep the day job as a letting agent for the time being until the vineyard produces sufficient income to support a career switch.
Five grape varieties
The vineyard site is on a steep south-facing slope, with well-draining shale soil set within its own vale, making it the ideal position for high quality grape production considers Quance-Woodland.
He says: “We currently have five grape varieties planted over 1.4ha. These are Rondo, Madeleine Angevine, Chardonnay, Siegerrebe, and Phoenix, although we plan to replace the Phoenix with some further plantings of Rondo and Madeleine Angevine, as well as, some trial rows of further varieties for red wine production this coming spring.”
He is expecting to crop up to six tonnes this year, with some being used to make wine at the Knightor Winery in St Austell while the rest is to be sold to other South West vineyards.