Tytherton family celebrates as first batch of home-made sparkling wine goes on sale

The Bateman family drank a toast to their success after the release of their first sparkling wine.

The family, who own the Maud Heath vineyard in East Tytherton, released the wine last month, six years after planting began.

In 2006 and 2008 they planted their first vines, followed by a more recent planting of additional Pinot Noir vines in 2011.

It was a waiting game while the grapes grew and the wine matured, but one that paid off.

Two years ago the first harvest of grapes was picked, producing 400 bottles of Maud Heath Bramble Hill still rose, which gained English quality wine status and was sold out within six weeks of being released.

At the same time a small amount of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes were picked to make a sparkling wine. This spent more than 17 months maturing and was released last month.

The vineyard, which measures about 4.8 acres, is one of only 400 registered vineyards in England and Wales.

It was the brainchild of father and son Michael and Dominic Bateman, who have proved that you do not need to travel far to find quality wine. They live on the farm with Michael’s wife Elizabeth and his younger daughter Jessica.

Both Elizabeth and Jessica also help out with the business, which is set to expand as the vines grow bigger each year.

Commenting on his latest batch of sparkling wine, former wine merchant Dominic Bateman said he got the most satisfaction from seeing people’s reaction to the wine.

“It’s very nice to see people’s response. To see people smiling and impressed. It makes you really happy.

“We were really proud of the fact that we had grown it on our own small plot of land in Wiltshire. We had always aimed for quality. It’s such a lot of time and hard work that we wanted to make it as good as possible.

“It’s a truly wonderful vineyard and a beautiful place to be.”

The wine is sold at the New Wine Shop, in Calne High Street, by David Hitchens.

As an independent retailer, he is keen to champion local produce.

Mr Hitchens said: “The field is unique because it’s got a special microclimate – it’s three degrees hotter than anywhere else in the local area.

“In wine terms, that’s massive. If you can get the extra warmth, grapes can ripen really well.

“The fact that a field two miles down the road is producing such good quality stuff is great for the town.

“It’s nice to be able to have something like this to offer, which is unique and not available in a supermarket.

“The big boys have most of the say and if we can pull the odd trick that’s brilliant.”

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