The Inspiration Behind the Vineyard
A family passion for wine…
As with everything else at Carlton Towers, a certain magic of this vineyard is that Lord Gerald and Lady Emma have been pioneering it and involved in every stage. Having enrolled on an RHS Walled Garden course, Lord and Lady Gerald got talking to a fellow guest, who had been in South Africa gaining expertise on vineyards. He mentioned that a walled garden was great for growing wine in England as it provides its own microclimate.
With that, the seed was planted in Lord Gerald’s mind. Upon his return to Carlton Towers, he set about in the old walled garden with a JCB, digging three trenches to test the soil structure and installing two weather stations, one in the walled garden and one outside. This revealed we had a base of sand and gravel, good for drainage and indeed we had a microclimate, perfect for growing vines!
The vineyard is truly a labour of love; with Lord and Lady Gerald and their team of helpers working tirelessly. Initially, the vines were unstaked and allowed to grow free, resulting in a certain amount of chaos. Lord Gerald then ‘got his act together’ and staked all the vines, selecting one shoot to tie to the stake and pruning the rest. After many 5.30am starts, all 2500 vines were finally back under control – now that’s a lot of love! There are roses planted on the aisle ends, paying mind to the original vineyard process as roses would show mildew before vines. These days, roses are resistant, however Carlton is nothing if not traditional.
When our sparkling wine is finally produced, it will be named ‘Duke Miles’ in homage to Lord Gerald’s father. Lord Gerald said, “My father would be totally amazed but truly proud that I have planted a vineyard at Carlton. He adored wine and particularly champagne, but above all he loved Carlton”.
At Carlton Church there is a plaque dedicated to Duke Miles, including all his titles, medals and honours but also stating with stunning simplicity that ‘Carlton was his home’.
See more about our wonderful vineyard, including some of its fascinating history here…