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County vineyard's high hopes for top crops
Just nine miles from Oxford city centre is Bothy Vineyard, one of the oldest vineyards in Oxfordshire. Originally it was a glorified garden building on the outside of Oakley Park. More than 30 years ago it was turned into a vineyard. In 2002 Sian and Richard Liwicki bought it and have created an eco friendly vineyard, winery and lifestyle.
“We’ve got five acres. I have fourteen varieties. This is a hobby that has gone bent.” Richard Liwicki laughs.
He is waiting for his samples to return from the laboratory before he starts bottling. “There is quite a lot of science in wine making.”
Which is why he has been asked to give a talk at Science Oxford in May explaining the “science behind the wine.”
“The blending has been done. The Ortega was a small crop. Last year was not kind to vineyard owners. We escaped by the skin of our teeth. I was out there lighting fires.”
(Trying to keep the frost from damaging the shoots.) He explains how terrible late frosts can be.
“In 2005 we lost our entire crop to a minus five frost on 11 May.”
This year they are expecting 5,000 bottles. It won’t be as good as 2010 when they had 8,000, but Richard expects the quality to be just as good. Last year they entered 4 of their wines into the national competition and ended up with silver medals for the lot.
“The Bacchus I’m keeping as a single varietal this year. It’s very nice. We had that glorious Indian summer in October which ripened what we had beautifully.”
He continues, “We have the nicest red I have ever made. I am playing with red. It is very difficult in England. Apart from the problem of getting things ripe is that the varieties that do ripen are a bit one-dimensional. So I am going to blend a lot of them to make up for that.
We call our red Cote Bothy, which sounds a little bit like Cote Roti.
Cote Roti is a Syrah with a little bit of Viognier. My Cote Bothy is the red grapes with a little bit of Ortega.”
I got to try a bit of the Oxford Dry, straight from their tank. It is a complex blend that is fresh and zesty, I tasted lemon peel at the finish and Richard agrees it is definitely citrusy. This wine will be ready 6 weeks after bottling. Just in time for May morning.
To taste Bothy Vineyard wines this weekend go to the Choose Abingdon, Good Living 2012 event at the Miele Experience Centre in Fairacres this Friday, 9 March, 7:30PM Bothy Vineyard will be there with Added Ingredients Deli. It’s all about going local. Everyone will taste local luxuries and sip local tipple.
Buy tickets for £5 at Added Ingredients and other Abingdon shops. You can get an additional free guest ticket with your Choose Abingdon card. http://www.chooseabingdon.co.uk/news/good-living-tickets-on-sale.
Added Ingredients (16 Stert Street, Abingdon, 01235 537405) and The Appleton Community Shop (Eaton Road, Appleton, Abingdon, 01865 863191) have a selection of Bothy Vineyard Wines year-round including the yummy Oxford Dry. The cost ranges from approximately £8.45 - £9.50.
To contact Bothy Vineyard, (www.bothyvineyard.co.uk, 01865 390067 or email email@example.com) the shop will re-open Friday 27 April 2012 for it’s regular season.