Pookchurch Vineyard has been created by David Wood. It brings together his long held interest in the countryside with a desire to produce something with his own hands, and of course, a love of wine! So in 2016, after spending 25 years running conferences and exhibitions, David embarked on the challenge of creating a new commercial vineyard and becoming a successful grower of grapes for local winemakers.
Though new to viticulture, David's very aware that how we go about this really matters. There's something compelling and rewarding about the growing of grapes, not just because of the part it plays in the art of winemaking, but also as an endeavour in itself. It's a centuries old practice, long associated with human passion and commitment, and with an essential connection between vines, land and environment. That's part of what drew David to Pookchurch, and what will help guide the way in which we manage the vineyard.
Pookchurch is in a very special setting. It has been planted on a site of about 100 acres, close to the village of Cuckfield in Sussex, in a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The land slopes gently south, with views to the South Downs and seems ideal for growing vines and producing grapes.
It really does feel like a privilege to be working in such a beautiful landscape, and we intend to respect it and look after it. Before the vines were planted, the land was used to grow wheat and broad beans. Already the geometry of the vine rows adds a different look, and as the vines mature, they will add something pleasing to the landscape, as other local vineyards have done.
The name too, was chosen because of its connection with the place. Inspired by nearby Pookchurch Wood, the name seemed a fitting way of connecting the history of the land with its new purpose of growing grapes.
We have been lucky to assemble an enthusiastic, dedicated team responsible for managing the vineyard. Coming from a range of professional backgrounds, we're excited to be involved in these crucial, formative stages and we're learning more about the site and its potential each day!
David Wood, Seán Anderson, Greg Palmer and Laura Tattam are all students or alumni of Plumpton College.