Tuesday, 10 July 2018

A visit to a vineyard..

Hi there

A few weeks back I was commissioned to create a linocut for a vineyard in North Yorkshire called 'Ryedale Vineyards'. They wanted a print showing their vines, farmhouse and a fox that visits them every so often. Here is the print. 

the vineyard print
They used the print on their posters, flyers and even a special ordinance survey map!

Anyway, they were a pleasure to work with, and seemed very happy with what I produced, and that was that, or so I thought....

..until I received a letter from them saying how much they liked the commission, and asking if I we'd like to come and visit the vineyard, do some wine-tasting and stay in their b&b accommodation for a night, for free!

I thought about this for around ten seconds, and then gladly accepted.

the farmhouse
So about three weeks ago my wife and I travelled up to Westow, North Yorkshire (not really that far Sheffield!). The countryside up there is beautiful, really idyllic rolling hills and big skies.

We were greeting by Michelle and John, the couple who run the vineyard and were given a potted introduction to vine-growing and wine-making and a tour of the vineyard/winery. I had no idea that the climate in the UK was warm enough for growing grapes, but apparently there are several species that thrive in the climate here.

the vines

the winery
We then took a look at the manufacturing part of the process, the big vats that the grapes are squished in, and the bottling process too. It is all bottled by hand, and they produce (and sell) over 9000 bottles of wine a year!

John and Stanley
Next came my favourite part (the tasting of course!). John talked us through the five or so wines they produce, with the addition of some very tasty local cheeses and crackers. The wine was really lovely, and tasted very fresh, perhaps something I hadn't associate with wine before.

At this point, another helper turned up, being Stanley the dog. Now, I'm not really a dog-person, but by the end of our stay I wanted to take him home with us. A lovely hound, he just followed us around hoping for a stroke and maybe a bit of stray cheese.
lovely Stanley

The accommodation was really quite something, spacious, comfortable and very stylish too. Our room was in the eaves of the farmhouse, and named the 'Fox' room. There were quite a few very nice fox prints on the walls. 

the Fox room
We slept like logs, after a hearty meal in the local pub (The Jolly Farmer), and the next morning had what was quite possibly the nicest fry-up I've ever had (again, all local produce).

possibly the best fry-up in the world?
So we left thoroughly impressed with the vineyard and the bed and breakfast too. We bought a couple of bottles of wine too. Why wouldn't you?
a souvenir

Michelle and John were super-friendly and helpful (as were their two sons). It is great to hear such enthusiasm for making their own produce and their plans for developing their vineyards. I hope we'll be back soon.

If you'd like to find out more about them, go to: https://www.ryedalevineyards.co.uk