Thursday 7 March 2019: It’s secateurs at the ready as viticulturists battle it out in the first ever vine pruning competition in Britain.
As British vineyards increase in size and number, looking after their well being is ever more important, and requires hours of back-breaking work, often in the harshest months of the year.
To highlight this valuable part of the winegrowing process, the UK wine industry’s national association, Wines of Great Britain (WineGB), is staging a national vine pruning competition – taking place tomorrow, Friday 8 March, hosted by and taking place at Hush Heath Estate in Kent.
The event is the first of its kind to take place in the UK, but follows a tradition found in many other major wine growing regions around the world: to find the best pruning team in the land. It has attracted sponsors in leading secateurs manufacturers Felco as well as Gripple, producers of wine trellising equipment. Bedlam Brewery will be supplying well-deserved beer to participants after the competition has taken place.
The competition itself will comprise teams of three pruners from leading vineyards in the South East. Each will be given a block of vines to prune and tie back and will be judged for proficiency, accuracy and speed. The judges will include vineyard consultant Stephen Skelton MW, who also heads up WineGB’s Viticultural Advisory Group along with a representative of Felco and other viticultural experts.
The event is being organised by James Dodson of Vine-Works, viticultural consultants to the UK wine industry and Tony Purdie of Yotes Court Vineyard in Kent.
“I’m delighted that we are staging this competition – it’s great to bring our viticulturists together and set a bit of a challenge for them – there’s nothing like a bit of rivalry to spur people on!” comments Stephen Skelton. “It’s time that our talented vineyard managers and their teams were recognised for the valuable work they do to ensure optimum quality in our grapes that ultimately go on to create our award-winning wines,” he added.
Earlier this week WineGB released data showing how year upon year, plantings of vines have increased, leading to a massive surge in wine production in the years to come.
If you would like to attend/film at/record at the event, the timings are as follows:
Completion by 2.00pm
Competitors and organisers will be available for interviews
Notes to editors:
• There are over 500 commercial vineyards in the UK (England and Wales) and some 165 wineries
• 7,000 acres (2,888ha) is now under vine in Great Britain
• You can find out more about the UK wine industry from their recent survey (https://www.winegb.co.uk/industry/)
• Hectarage planted in the UK has grown by 160% in the last 10 years and more than tripled since 2000
• Of the wines produced, 69% are sparkling and 31% are still
• There are vineyards in England, Wales and some recent plantings in Scotland
For more information or interviews with Stephen Skelton MW or James Dodson, please contact Julia Trustram Eve (Marketing Director, WineGB) tel: 01858 467792 – 07775 760451 or email [email protected]
Photographs can be supplied: please contact Julia Trustram Eve