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Take a trip to Tinwood Vineyard

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With vines stretching as far as the eye can see and the sun beating down on the verandah – it’s not hard to see why Tinwood Vineyard is considered one of the best places to visit around Chichester.

The English vineyard is owned by Art Tukker, a second-generation farmer whose family emigrated from Holland.

But it’s not just its ranking by eager visitors that has given the vineyard a boost.

“This year has been really good for us,” said Art.

“The weather has been fantastic and this has been the best crop we have had. It’s been amazing – I feel it has reflected all the hard work we are putting in here.

“People sit here in the sun and don’t expect it to be like this, because it’s England.”

The vines are groaning with green grapes which are expected to change colour very soon – before the autumn harvest can begin.

Art planted the vines – which produce three sparkling varieties of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier – seven years ago, and has travelled widely to get inspiration to help the business grow.

“It has been a long project,” said Art.

“When we first started in 2006, no-one had really heard of English wines. We were among the first to do it, so it was a bit of a risk. But it’s great to have good reviews.”

The vineyard partnered up with the Ridgeview Wine Estate – another family company based to the north of Brighton which specialises in sparkling wine production. The vines were tended to over two-and a-half years and in 2009, Tinwood got their first small crop of grapes, which have been stored by the vineyard for posterity and ‘special occasions’.

The vineyard, which neighbours Art’s father’s farm, is ideally nestled off the beaten track near Halnaker. The soil in the area is the ‘perfect’ mix 
of gravel over chalk, while the South Downs protect the vineyard from the north and east and the sea, five miles away, keeps much of the frost away early in the season.

Art and his girlfriend Jody Jakab are both actively involved in the running of the business.

While Art spends time tending to the 84,000 vines, Jody runs the tasting room, which opened in June last year.

With a large patio area, and a view of the perfectly-straight vines, the new building provides a place to sample the wines produced from the vineyards. Much like the simple but effective branding of Tinwood wines, the venue feels fresh and not over-complicated.

“It’s doing really well,” said Jody. “It’s proving to be popular with groups, couples and the odd hen party.

“We are so lucky to have this space, we’re really pleased with it. It’s just a nice place to sit and relax.”

Tinwood’s logo reflects the geography of the vineyard, which is nestled in the shadow of Halnaker windmill. Leading up to the windmill, the design shows three lines, representing the three vineyards.

As if a tour of the three wasn’t enough, visitors can also take part in the grape harvest – which is, according to the couple, the most exciting part of the year.

“The grapes are all hand-picked,” said Jody. “It brings in people from all over Chichester.”

Art said the popularity of the vineyard was mostly growing by word of mouth.

“It’s nice that way, If you have a nice time here, you’ll tell people you know will enjoy it too.”

The Harvest Experience, which includes grape-picking, a three-course lunch, tour and wine-tasting, runs on October 10, 11 and 18 and costs £44.95.

To find out more visit {http:\\www.tinwoodestate.com|Tinwood Vineyard}

 

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