Dalwood Vineyard was an idea first discussed twelve or so years ago, but like many good ideas it took a while to happen. Eventually, the subject came up again over a pint or two, and this time a group of six Dalwood villagers decided to make it happen. Backed by knowledge gained from a course on vine growing at Plumpton College and a willingness to learn, we planted the first vines in Dalwood Vineyard in 2009, the first acre devoted to seyval blanc.

The following year three more varieties—solaris, madeleine angevine and pinot noir—were planted, giving us a total area of three acres, about 3,000 vines. The varieties were chosen for their ability to deal with the unpredictability of the west country climate, reliably delivering a crop and offering options in terms of blending. The site is west to south-west facing on a gentle hill (which seems less gentle after working the vineyard for several hours) overlooking the village.

It takes a minimum of four years to the first crop with good conditions so it was not until 2013 that we produced a first crop. This we decided to devote to a sparkling wine. England is gaining a strong international reputation for sparkling wines, regularly seeing off champagnes and other sparklers in competitions. So why not Dalwood?

We are indebted to the skills of our winemaker, Brooksbank Barrs in Somerset, who has done a great job, the Lyme Bay Winery for their facilities with disgorging and labelling and members of the vineyard industry generally, always generous with the help.