Wayfarer Wines

Wayfarer Wines is run by the Ashford family. They specialise in producing still wine. Their first vineyard was planted in 2016, almost 3,000 vines at the rear of the family home, nestled in the rolling landscape along the beautiful Pilgrims Way in Kent. They acquired their second vineyard in Woodchurch, Kent as they wanted to continue to grow the business, and to be able to welcome visitors to wander their vineyard and discover their wines first hand from the cellar door.

2021 vintage report

We managed a good yield, approx. 2.2 ton per acre which was up on last year, slightly down on 2019 which was our best year so far at 2.5 ton per acre. All the fruit was exceptionally clean and we were happy with the T/A and Brix given the challenging conditions the year presented.

We were really pleased with the levels of ripeness and we did not suffer from any specific problems. Our Maidstone vineyard is quite well protected from frost, being located south and downhill of a row of houses, we find that the houses dissipate any frost that rolls off the hill, and being on a nice gradient we don’t suffer from any frost pooling at the bottom of the vineyard. We do make sure we thin the hedges at the bottom (southerly) end of the vineyard to allow for frost to dissipate as well.

When we first plated the vineyard we didn’t put in any windbreaks, as Matt’s parents were cautiously trying to preserve the wonderful views and that actually turned out to be a stroke of luck. The vineyard is quite windy, however this does not seem to effect yield and the fruit remains disease free and dries off well even during periods of rain. This, combined with Matt’s meticulous and well managed spray schedule ensures fruit is of the highest possible quality for still wines, even in difficult years.

For us, we had no shortage of labour as we still manage everything ‘in house’ at harvest with friends and family. However next year when our larger site comes into production we will need to look for contracted help so might be a different story!

Overall, I think quality of our Pilgrims Way Pinot Gris 2021, and our Pilgrims Way Pinot Noir rosé 2021 will be in line with previous years.

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