Even before the Haywood family took over in 2017, Astley Vineyard has always been a haven for wildlife & nature. Our private home is just one hundred metres from the vineyard, one mile away from SSSI Shrawley Wood, and two miles from the River Severn. Caring for the environment has always been a top priority for Astley Vineyard's owners.
Since moving to the vineyard in 2017, the Haywoods have set about making slow, long term, sustainable changes to the place we call home. Coming from a background of sustainably-minded business and gardening, it was always our dream to move Astley Vineyard as close to Organic viticulture as we could. Now in 2021, we have made some significant changes that we are proud to share.
In 2021, Astley Vineyard became a wholly Organic vineyard (uncertified).
The largest hurdle to overcome was finding a replacement for the dreaded Glyphosate. Even before we replaced it, we were relatively sparing in its use, but it was still an unfortunate necessity. That was, until, we purchased a new tractor with an attachable under-vine cultivator. This allows us to manage weeds without the use of chemicals.
On top of this, any other chemicals we use are now certfied Organic.
This is enabled further-still by rigorous canopy management. Luckily our vineyard is aligned to maximise airflow, and the only disease we seem to have is blister mite (which is insignificant when compared to mildew & rot).
We do everything we can to make all elements of our business as sustainable as possible. Sometimes there are cost implications (good & bad), but mostly we do it to minimise our impact on the world around us. Here's what else we do around the site & business:
- Alternate rows allowed to grow wild flowers in the vineyard.
- Prunings recycled in multiple ways: undervine fertiliser, and sold to a local fire wood producer.
- All cardboard recycled into packaging materials.
- Organic & natural woodland management regime.
- Minimal sulphur additions, and limited filtration in the winery (never fining).
- Wild fermentations encouraged.