Woodchester Valley Vineyard
“Stroud District is a buzzy place where people are very loyal to local producers and care about their surroundings. We have been supported in our business by local customers since the beginning.”
Starting with a single acre of vines in 2007, family owned Woodchester Valley Vineyard now farms 58 acres, producing award winning still and sparkling wines on the limestone slopes of Stroud District. Founder, Fiona Shiner says, “We farm on Cotswold Brash, a stony, low-grade soil which is perfect for vines with steep slopes giving the sun an intensity that the vines love. We did our research before planting our first acre, learning what worked best, gaining skills and gradually increasing the size of the vineyard over the years. We now have 83,000 vines, a thriving business employing around 25 part time and full time staff and produce, on average, 100,000 bottles of wine a year.”
Initially, the winemaking was outsourced to a vineyard nearby using grapes from Woodchester’s three vineyard sites in Woodchester, Amberley and Stonehouse. Since setting up a winery in 2016, Woodchester Vally Vineyards now employ a full-time winemaker. Fiona explains, “We are a single estate vineyard, rare in the UK. We don’t buy in grapes from anywhere else and only make wine with our own fruit. 45% of our wines are sparkling but our core wines include still whites, rosé and our award-winning Sauvignon Blanc. We focus on quality. We only have one harvest a year to produce wine from and so we have to ensure we produce the best quality grapes each season. Our wines are clean, fresh and reflect their origins in the limestone soils of the Cotswolds AONB. New customers are usually surprised by how vibrant our wines are.”
She continues, “we sell our wines at Stroud farmers’ market once a month, it’s a great way to regularly meet our local customers, as well as via our own cellar door shop. We also sell to trade customers across Stroud District including independent shops, delicatessens, hotels, restaurants and farm shops and a limited amount of stock goes to restaurants and shops in London, Bristol and Bath.”
The vineyard has also grown from an agricultural business to a broader tourism operation, making the most of its location in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty to develop wine tours, tastings and accommodation for staycations, working with other local companies and suppliers to expand.
Fiona says, “Stroud District is great because it has a strong industrial sector, as well as being beautiful, creative and foodie. We have worked with local metal fabricators for farm items, furnished our accommodation with items made by local artists and our hampers in the tasting rooms are made from locally sourced food and drink.”