East Devon villagers to share in their own vineyard

Residents in the East Devon village of West Hill, near Ottery St Mary, will soon have the chance to share in their own local vineyard and enjoy their own personally labelled bottles of wine.

Residents in the East Devon village of West Hill, near Ottery St Mary, will soon have the chance to share in their own local vineyard and enjoy their own personally labelled bottles of wine.

It’s the idea of West Hill resident Deece Johnson, who has been involved with the vineyard since the vines were first planted five years ago.

West Hill Vineyard is part of Pebblebed Vineyards, run by Geoff Bowen of Topsham, who recently appeared in the BBC TV programme ‘Dragons Den’ when he was offered �60,000 by Dragon Duncan Bannantine, for a share in his vineyard at Clyst St George near Exeter.

Deece says, “Geoff planned to sell West Hill vineyard to help fund his new venture at Clyst St George. That was when I thought, “What if I could get local people involved in the vineyard? They could each have their own row of vines, learn how to look after them, assist with the harvesting, and, of course, enjoy the wines made from their own grapes.”

“ But, most of all, I wanted it to be a community project, where people can bring their family along to the vineyard, to meet each other, share their interest in wine and enjoy the wonderful scenery around the vineyard.”

People will be able to ‘adopt’ a row of vines and will be encouraged to help look after their row, by assisting in the pruning of the vines and the harvesting of the grapes. Then, each year, they will be presented with a case of six personally labelled bottles of sparkling wine, produced from their grapes.

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Pebblebed sparkling wines have won some major prizes at recent wine tasting competitions, even beating some of the French Champagnes, so the people of Devon could be in for a real treat.

More information is available by going to www.pebblebed.co.uk/westhill or by emailing Deece Johnson deece@pebblebed.co.uk