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Future is looking rosé for vineyard

13:06 19 August 2014

Andrew Simmons with some of his ripening grapes at his vineyard last year. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref shv 0584-35-13AW

Andrew Simmons with some of his ripening grapes at his vineyard last year. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref shv 0584-35-13AW

Archant

A Sidbury couple who embraced the trend for English wines have bottled their first crop and hope to see it on shelves nearby soon.

Andrew Simmons and Rebecca Russell with son Daniel Simmons and their dog Buster last year. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref shv 0607-35-13AWAndrew Simmons and Rebecca Russell with son Daniel Simmons and their dog Buster last year. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref shv 0607-35-13AW

Rebecca Russell and Andrew Simmons enlisted a team of volunteers to pluck the grapes from their Roncombe Valley vineyard and placed their trust in a wine maker.

From the three varieties they have produced a refreshing dry white wine and a delicate rosé, with a sparkling rosé on its way next year.

“It has been a somewhat anxious time for us waiting for our first ever wines to be returned from the winemaker,” said Andrew.

“We knew we had good quality grapes but so much of the process is down to the skill and expertise of the winemaker. But the results are simply amazing and the feedback on the wines so far has been fantastic and very encouraging.

“It has certainly been a challenge to get to where we are today, to have transformed over the years what was once a cattle grazing field into a thriving and healthy vineyard in this corner of East Devon - but the results have shown us it has all been worthwhile.”

The couple’s next challenge is to get the wines in local establishments – while Andrew juggles a full-time job at IBM and Rebecca cares for their two-year-old son, Daniel, and their newborn.

They hope to show off their produce at Pebblebed Vineyard’s wine festival next month.

Andrew and Rebecca are again looking for volunteers to help with this year’s bumper harvest from their 2,500 vines, for which they will be rewarded with a ‘rustic’ style lunch and samples of the wine.

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