As the harvest started this week I thought it would be the perfect time to pop down to the 23 acres of beverage heaven that is Biddenden Vineyards, to have a little look at whats going on.
Biddenden is responsible for the delicious wine we serve at The Windmill as well as a plethora of other delicious drinks including apple & pear juices, ciders, sparkling and still wines.
Biddenden Vineyards were started by the Barnes family way back in 1969. They originally owned a small apple farm but when the country started importing more and more apples from abroad the farm found itself in a bit of trouble. Like all good innovators the Barnes family looked at something else to do. Inspired by vineyards in other regions, the family opened Biddenden Vineyard and as they, say the rest is history. Julian, the son of the original pioneers grew up surrounded by the vineyard and runs the vineyard today.
Whilst I was there I had a good look around and Julian gave me a quick run down of how the vineyard makes those delicious grapes into even more delicious wines. Due to the excellent weather, the picking started a little early this year and is in full motion as we speak. After the grapes are picked they are pressed in the winery and the juice is then tanked for settling. Next, the yeast is added for fermentation and the wine is left for 5-10 days. It is then tanked off into a clean tank and left for 2 months ready for bottling in the new year. I hope you’re keeping up! Once its bottled the vines are pruned ready to start the whole process again.
If you want to have a wander around yourself, go ahead, they are open for you to have a gander 7 days a week. If you prefer to have a guided tour, they have recently extended these to Wednesdays and Saturdays. You arrive at 9.45, delight in some free coffee and enjoy your hour long tour around the vineyard. Then, the part i’m sure you’ve been waiting for, the tasting! and guess what? it free! But please do make sure you make a donation to Biddenden’s chosen charity RABI, supporting farming families.
Make sure you check out their cider also, after all, apples are where the family started in the first place. You can definitely taste the longstanding family knowledge in how perfect the cider is!
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