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It's all go at Wickham Vineyard!

IMG_6896 Wickham Marquee

The tasting tent at Wickham’s mini wine festival, July 2013

Well, what a delightful contrast from when we last went to Wickham in January and it was all closed despite appearing open on their website (don’t get me started…) This time it was very different with a “Four Vineyards of Hampshire Mini Wine Festival” as part of Hampshire Food Festival.

I’d called and left a message to book my ticket and had a call back, apologising for the delay, saying that about 100 visitors were expected, but 300 had booked. It was a lovely atmosphere on the day and clearly all hands to the pump with Wilhelm Mead, who led the recent management buy-out, acting as ticket attendant in the car park!

IMG_6893 Meonhill Stand

Meonhill Wine from Little West End Vineyard on show at Wickham’s mini wine festival.

The three “guest vineyards” were Jenkyn Place, Meonhill and Hambledon. These three not normally being open to the public, it was great to meet them and taste the wines. To be honest, it was a bit busy for me to do much more than have a quick chat and taste, but I’ll be catching up with each of them individually over the next few weeks. I’m also looking forward to hearing more about Meonhill, including their sparkling chardonnay, which was the standout wine for me on this brief tasting and to visiting the delightfully friendly Ian Kellett and his partner Anna to see their new gravity-fed winery at Hambledon.

IMG_6917 Fruit Set at Wickham

Fruit set at Wickham Vineyard, July 2013

The restaurant was open, there was a barbecue and a real buzz in the air. How nice to see vineyards working together in this way and being rewarded by the turnout. There were quad bikes to take cases of wine purchased to the car park – I’ve no idea how successful the event was in terms of sales on the day, but it must have done lots for awareness.

Obviously the lovely weather didn’t hurt attendance and I had a quick look at the vines on the way through – they are clearly enjoying the weather, too, and fruit set is well under way. I’m planning to check out the audio tour of Wickham Vineyard in the very near future, so no doubt more on that soon.

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