Sedlescombe Organic is a real organic vineyard
Nestled just outside Cripps Corner in East Sussex and near the village Sedlescombe, this is where this story begins. Sedlescombe Organic is not just an organic English vineyard, but a vibrant fruit farm that embarks on an adventure into the world of biodynamics. This vineyard acknowledges the "old ways" that some might claim are now long forgotten. Interestingly, these old ways are making a comeback into viticulture.
We can thank Rudolf Steiner, and Austrian thinker, for the philosophy behind biodynamics as he was concerned about the effects of nitrogen fertilizer on soils that were being used in farming in the early part of the 20th century. Not only did Steiner focus on ways to fertilize without chemically produced nitrogen, such as encouraging clover to grow in vineyards, but he also developed methods to control pests and disease.
What are some biodynamic methods in the vineyard?
Many people have not heard of biodynamic farming, but with the current social uptake of becoming "more green" some of the methods embodied within biodynamics start to make sense. Biodynamic methods that are used in the vineyard are as follows:
- Cow Pat Pit - pit underground with cow horns filled with organic cow poo that's eventually mixed with water and used as fertilizer.
- Biodynamic calendar - a calendar of the lunar cycle that tells the farmer the best time to plant crops, fertilize, prune and harvest.
- Horsetail Tea - a mixture of horsetail and yarrow weed tea that's mixed with whey and eucalyptus and thyme. Spray this on the vines to control downy mildew.
- Cover Crops - mainly purple clover planted between vine row, but other small crops can be sowed to contribute to the soil management and natural fertilizer (nitrogen).
Wine Tasting at Sedlescombe Organic
Sedlescombe Orangic has opened a new tasting room this year (Feb 2020) and it's very warm and welcoming to visitors Guests can do a full tour and tasting, served with food, or just pop in for a tasting of their wonderful organic and biodynamic wine.
There is plenty of room in the tasting room to spread out and enjoy yourself. The building is rather unique as it is temperature controlled through geothermal coils that lie beneath the vineyard.
The building has extremely low carbon footprint and when remodeled it has maintained much of the original structure once used by the previous owners, Irma and Roy Cook. Such a great way to reuse material and structures!
Selection of wines to sample or buy
Sedlescombe Organic offers a range of biodynamic and organic wine. At the time of this article the have the following in stock:
- Premiere Brut - English fizz (grapes: Johanniter, Seyval Blanc & Kerner)
- First Release - lovely white still wine (Rivaner (50%), Madelene Angevine (27%) and Solaris (23%) grapes
- Rosé - (Pinot Noir, Regent, Rondo, Seyval Blanc)
- Old Vine - wine still wine (32 year old Rivaner vines)
- Red - still red wine (Regent and Rondo grapes)