Dunesforde, a boutique, family-run vineyard in the Vale of York, launches its first still white wines, grown from Bacchus and Solaris grapes.
Established by the Townsend family, Dunesforde pursues their passion for a product that combines community, the environment, quality and craftsmanship. The family’s aim is to create outstanding cool climate wines of the highest quality with a distinct character in a location that challenges convention.
Planting began four years ago, adjacent to the Townsend family home in Upper Dunsforth, following years of searching for the most suitable site for their new venture. During the four years since planting, the difficulty of producing wine in such a northerly location has proven a real challenge, with extreme variations in weather and mildew wiping out some of their grapes.
Commenting on their North Yorkshire location, Vineyard Manager and eldest son James Townsend says, “While we are definitely on the edge of where it is possible to ripen grapes, we believe the challenging nature of our site and longer ripening produces more complex fruit for more interesting wines.”
James’ father, Ian Townsend, adds, “Many family and friends thought our intentions were extremely optimistic. The site we chose is north facing, on the edge of a beck and is very fertile. Yet the experts had confidence, and in spite of these challenges, here we are; tasting our first wines and we’re delighted with the results and the feedback.”
Frances Atkins, Chef Director at the award-winning The Yorke Arms in Ramsgill, was one of the first to taste the wines and sang its praises. “The Solaris, in particular, I found so delicate and light yet full of character with its tropical flavours. The wine will really compliment a fish dish and we featured it in our recent English Wine Dinner at the restaurant.”
The four-acre vineyard is growing four grape varieties known for their suitability to wine production in the north – Solaris, Bacchus, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir Précoce. Being such a small site, the wines are extremely limited and will only be available from The Yorke Arms and direct from the Dunesforde website. The Townsends have worked with design agency Elmwood and York-based artist, Lesley Birch, to create a high-quality label, which showcases the local landscape and the distinctive product. Each bottle is individually numbered highlighting the short supply. The wines were launched to family and friends at the vineyard in Upper Dunsforth on Monday 7 October and the Townsend family’s journey from wine tourists to producers featured on Monday’s The One Show on the BBC at 7pm (Monday, 14 October). In the first week since their launch, Dunesforde has already had to reduce individual orders to one mixed case of Solaris and Bacchus per person.
Talking about the sales so far, Georgina Townsend, Business Development Director and daughter adds, “The response has completely exceeded our expectations. With only 543 bottles of Solaris and 897 bottles of Bacchus produced in the first year, stock is running low quickly and we are therefore in the unusual position of having to limit orders to mixed cases.”
In 2020, Dunesforde will introduce five sparkling wines, including a Rosé, which are available to pre-order through mixed cases now. Like the still wines, these will have a limited supply and full details can be found on the Dunesforde website www.dunesforde.com
– Ends –
Notes to editors:
Dunesforde wines available now:
Mixed Case 2018 £99 for a case of three Solaris and three Bacchus
Dunesforde sparkling wines available to pre-order:
Mixed Sparkling Case 2018 £205 including one of bottle of Sparkling Solaris, Sparkling Rosé, Sparkling Pinot Gris and Blanc de Noir, and two Classic Cuvée
For media enquiries:
Kat Nellist, Marketing Manager, Dunesforde
07939 201868 [email protected]
Ian Townsend, Chairman, Dunesforde
07770 586596 [email protected]
For sales visit: www.dunesforde.com
Dunesforde is a four-acre vineyard in Upper Dunsforth, York producing outstanding cool climate wines in one of the most northerly locations in the UK. Set up in 2016, it is owned and managed by the Townsend Family. Four grape varieties are grown at Dunesforde: Solaris, Bacchus, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir Précoce. The Solaris 2018 and Bacchus 2018 are from their first harvest and will be followed by five sparkling wines from the 2018 harvest in 2020: Sparkling Solaris, Sparkling Rosé, Sparkling Pinot Gris, Classic Cuvée and Blanc de Noir.
About The Yorke Arms
The Yorke Arms is a restaurant with rooms situated in the heart of the Nidderdale Valley, an area of outstanding natural beauty in the North Yorkshire Dales. Nestled at the end of the Gouthwaite reservoir in the village of Ramsgill, the area draws visitors from around the world to its stunning moorlands and tapestry of meadows. Chef Frances Atkins, one of only six women to receive a Michelin star in the UK in 16 years, heads the award-winning kitchen.
For the past 21 years’ Frances has established an international reputation for fine food and exceptional hospitality with her trusted team at The Yorke Arms.
About the wine industry in the UK
Wine production in the UK in 2018 reached 13.2 million bottles, 31% in still and 69% in sparkling. There are 794 vineyards, together growing 3m vines over 3,579 hectares. The largest wine producing region is the South East with 75% of the vineyard area. Pinot Noir (including Pinot Noir Précoce) is the largest variety of grape grown at 29.7% of the total hectarage. Statistics from the 2018 WineGB industry survey results. www.winegb.co.uk