Growing grapes and producing English wine this far north in Warwickshire means it’s not unknown for us to walk the vines offering up hope, as one does, to a bountiful harvest. We can’t say our mutterings have helped much in the past few seasons so to celebrate Shakespeare’s birthday weekend & bud burst on the vineyard we pulled in the professionals to help kick start our season with a Blessing of the Vines.
The Blessing of the Vines ceremony is a centuries old tradition, probably stretching back in some form or another to when our ancestors started growing any form of crops. Still common amongst our European neighbours, the growth of our English wine producing industry (800+ vineyards at the last count) will almost certainly see this celebration more common place in the UK.
On a gloriously sunny Sunday afternoon, we were privileged to have our dear friend, the Reverend Hugh Bearn (Vicar of St Anne’s Tottington & Chaplain to HM the Queen) in attendance with distinguished guests including the newly appointed High Sheriff of Warwickshire, David Kelham to lead our ceremony and celebrations.
As this was the first time we had held this ceremony, we also grabbed the opportunity to welcome new and old faces back to the vineyard for some English wine tasting. Once again, the sharing of wine brought people together and turned a special occasion into a celebration.
The service itself was beautifully crafted and involved prayers from Saint Vincent of Saragossa and Saint Amand of Poitou (the patron Saints of Vintners) and also saw our old vines and newly planted vines bathed in incense and holy water. The Rev. Bearn is no stranger to ceremonial occasions and, as always, captivated his wine thirsty congregation with a beautiful service. Our young apprentices were on hand to support him, recognising that our vineyard is definitely a family affair. We were hugely appreciative of Hugh and Alison (and Cameron 🐾) taking precious time out of their busy schedules for us, and have made them promise to come back later in the season for a longer stay to check on the vines!
We were delighted that David Kelham also took the time to share with us his own experience of wassailing of his apples trees! David himself has spent over 40 year in the wine and food industry and is planning some amazing things for local producers during his 12 month appointment.
We then returned from amongst the vines to continue another centuries old tradition of breaking bread (in this case the classic British fayre of fish and chips) & drinking our own Warwickshire Fizz! Vicky and her crew from Food Genie whipped up a fantastic feast for us all as Fizz and Fish & Chips is a food pairing we're particularly partial to!
The vineyard is made for weekends like these. With the buzz of the Stratford celebrations echoing all around us, our vines waking up in this glorious English spring weather and the chance to sit with friends and neighbours and enjoy our beautiful Warwickshire countryside and some of the produce it provides - happy days.
We're busy planning our events for this season - why not book at table in our Wine Garden and have your own happy day? WINE GARDEN TABLE BOOKINGS >>