Although our first vines were planted in 2012, the seeds of Westow Vineyard were sown over a thousand miles away in South West France several years earlier.
Inspired by family holidays and yearning to create a business that put his agronomy skills to good use, former Harper Adams Agriculture student, James Mason and his wife, Sally embarked on a search for the perfect plot of land to grow vines to make great English sparkling wine.
Their search took them to Kilham, a quintessentially Yorkshire Wolds village that lies on the line of a Roman road from York to Bridlington and the name of their first wine, Erihskroy (Yorkshire spelt backwards) was inspired by the Kennel Club name for James’s parents Irish Wolfhounds.
Westow Vineyard extends to eight acres and all of the vines were hand planted by the Mason family that included James and Sally’s children, Lawrence and Amie.
The grapes are harvested by the extended Mason family and friends in the traditional French manner with helpers being fed and watered and paid in wine. The children are paid cash, however!
Just like whisky making when there is no return for the first three years, it takes this time for the vines to get established. Nurturing in these formative years is paramount to creating the bedrock of a vineyard and strong vines that will last a lifetime and James and Sally have invested time, energy and love into creating a vineyard that will be a viable business for generations to come.
A decade after they first started out on their exciting adventure, they laughingly say how proud they are to be able to disprove the naysayers who said that viticulture on the Yorkshire Wolds would never work, and they’re looking forward to many more decades of fabulous Yorkshire sparkling wine.