During September of 2011 I attended Plumpton College where I completed my Principles of Vine Growing course. Chris Foss, Jo Cowderoy and Kevin Sutherland were brilliant lecturers and I remember Jo telling me that viticulture originated from Mesopotamia (today’s Turkey and Syria) over 5,000 years ago. Jo’s comment fascinated me and on 10 April 2018 I set off on a trip to visit South Eastern Turkey.

We flew to Mardin and travelled on to Tapebase, Dara, Kabala and Diyarbakir, visiting several vineyards along the way. The Assyrians and Muslims are still making wine in the area in the same style as they did thousands of years ago. Although tea and raki are the drinks of choice, the red wine is exported as far as China.

The thing I found very interesting and different from other vineyards I have visited in Greece and Cyprus is the vines are not grown in the 'goblet style', but several roots are planted in clusters approximately two meters apart with the rows laid out to the same distance. When I was there the rows had recently been ploughed and the land appeared well looked after.

This was a truly amazing trip, organised by Meristur, one of Turkeys premier travel agencies, highly recommend for people wanting to see a very different part of the world.


A very special day

The 4th of April was a special day. Not only was it my 64th birthday,  Jamie, my eldest sons birthday and Kevin Sutherland’s birthday in the same week, but it was the day we officially 'launched' Four Acres Estate.

I am grateful to Councillor Colin Woodward, The mayor of Bishop's Stortford who came along to open the winery, and despite it being a grey cold day, lots of people who have helped us came to share the glory and more importantly taste the fruit of their labour (the 2015 vintage is almost ready, but we will not release it until it has matured to perfection).

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Pruning, pruning, pruning...

I started pruning during the first week of January and finally finished on 27 of March. Considering that we have 2,250 vines I must have made around 25,000 cuts!

The hardest job is getting rid of the canes out of the vineyard, nevertheless it’s done for another year.

Now I have to tie the canes onto the fruiting wires, a task that should take about a week; four rows done, twenty three to go...