Chevelswarde | South Kilworth, Leicestershire is the oldest certified organic vineyard in the United Kingdom.
Owners | John & Ruth Daltry.
The name | The name Chevelswarde is of Anglo-Saxon origin. Cyfel (from which Chevel is derived, read on) came with people to found a settlement where they could clear the forest in which wolf, elk, fox and wild boar hunted. They cultivated the land with four- and eight-oxen ploughs and found pasture for sheep and cattle. The new village became known as the Homestead of Cyfel’s People, later as Chevelswarde, Altera-Kenelingworth, Clevliorde, Kilworth Roger and eventually as South Kilworth, as it was recorded in the Domesday Book.
Vvineyard | This vineyard was planted in 1973. 0.238-ha of vines, mainly Muller-Thurgau, planted between 1973 and 2000 on a south-east facing slope in South Kilworth, South Leicestershire at an average of 130 metres above sea level. Sandy clay soil over gravel. Planted with Madeleine x Angevine 7673 and Müller Thurgau. Subsequently they added 2 rows of Madeleine Angevine. Müller-Thurgau is rather disease prone whereas Madeleine Angevine is a more reliable cropper. The entire vineyard was replanted from 2002 and completed in 2005, with Phoenix, Regent and Rondo. The latter are the estate’s first attempt at red wine. The area of the vineyard is approximately 0.48ha, some of which will be producing grapes in 2006 for the first time. It is all certified organic by the Soil Association. Also Solaris.
VIiticulture | Vine density of 3.66 metres x 2.44 metres GDC or 1.83 metres x 2.44 metres Scott Henry. Spur pruning only. No rootstocks.
Certification | 1975 Soil Association Symbol Holder No. D03M since 1975. The vineyard is the oldest certified organic vineyard in the UK.
Winemaking | ‘Our winemaker [Roy Cook of Sedlescome] makes the wine as Dry or Medium Dry as requested, thus the majority has been made dry but the 1998 vintage was made medium dry so that we have the two styles available. In our best year we produced 1296 bottles from 1.75 tonnes of grapes! We used to have the grapes processed by Sedlescombe Vineyard but from 2003 we have been doing it ourselves here,’ says John.
Phoenix | 2011 Made from the Phoenix grape variety.
Solaris | 2013 Made from the Solaris grape variety.
Rosé | Made from a blend of Rondo and Regent.
Rondo & Regent | 2009 Blend of Rondo and Regent.
Rondo | 2013 Made from Rondo.
Fruit and Veg is the main activity here. Sold via a box scheme. The owners choose the vegetables and fruit which go into the boxes each week, and aim to include seven or more different varieties of vegetable and usually one fruit.
Open Days are held in the summer in conjunction with HDRA. We usually get over 100 people – weather permitting. We are open from 11am until 6pm. Visitors will be able to see the crops growing on 2.5 acres outdoors and 10 polytunnels and, of course, the 1 acre of vines. Growing methods will be explained during the guided tours as will methods for pest and disease control, starting at 11.15am, 2.30pm and 4.15pm. We do keep a small herd of pigs. These are not strictly organic, but they are fed on food which does not contain antibiotics or copper growth prometers or any genetically modified ingredients. The Farm Shop is open and teas and refreshments are available. We will be pleased to show parties round by prior arrangement at any time, except Thursdays when we are all very busy with the box scheme. No public transport on Sunday. Dogs on a lead please.
Chevel House, The Belt, South Kilworth,
Leicestershire, LE17 6DX, England
Tel+44 (0)1858.575309 / www.chevelswardeorganics.co.uk
Directions from M1/M6/A14 junction: Pass through Swinford and South Kilworth, towards North Kilworth. Turn right down the lane called ‘The Belt’, just before a small wood. We are a quarter of a mile down the hill, on the left. The Farm Shop is a quarter of a mile down an unmade land (The Belt) which runs south east off the road between South and North Kilworth, about a quarter of mile from South Kilworth.