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Successful restoration at Carden Park vineyard

Tireless work has gone into restoring the three-acre vineyard at the Broxton hotel

Staff have been harvesting grapes at Carden Park

Staff at Carden Park have been busy harvesting distinctive grapes from their new vineyard.

For nearly 10 years, tireless work has gone into restoring the three-acre vineyard, which was originally planted n 1988, to its former glory, after production was stopped in 2000.

The revamped harvest, one of Europe’s most northerly commercial vineyards, now produces up to 6000 bottles of wine, the highest yield in two years.

Peter Pattenden, Estates Manager at Carden Park, said: “It has taken the commitment and dedication of the Carden Park team to get the vineyard back to its former glory and we feel we are really there now, with 6 tonnes harvested in total over two days.

“It is fantastic for us to be able to produce such a high grade of grapes in the heart of Cheshire. We want visitors to the hotel to enjoy the real fruits of our labour by toasting with a glass of the good stuff,” he added.

The vineyard at Carden Park Hotel

The main growing season is May to September but it requires year-round care to keep the vines in peak condition and free from disease.

The prevalent grape variety grown at Carden Park is the Seyval Blanc, which produces a light, nutty and crisp sparkling white wine.

And in 2011, the vineyard also yielded Pinot Noir red grapes for the first time, the vines of which were only planted in May 2009 and will be used to produce the first rosé wine made entirely from grapes grown at Carden Park.

Peter added “We have tested the sugar levels of the white grapes and the early indication is a higher level than we have achieved previously. “This is directly connected to the alcohol level which from our tests is at 8.3%. During the fermentation process this will increase and the end product of Carden Old Gold Sparkling wine will have a 12% alcohol content.”

The fruit is then transported to Halfpenny Green Vineyards in Staffordshire, where it is pressed before beginning the fermentation process using champagne yeast in a classic process called ‘methode champagnois’, which gives the wine its sparkle.

The wine is then bottled the following spring and matured for a further nine months before the two vintages can finally be purchased.

Bottles of both Carden vintages can be purchased for £25 in the hotel’s restaurants and bars or for weddings and celebrations, or from reception as a memento or gift.

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