• Matleena Haywood

Matleena's 2018 (-2019)

2018. What a year.

It’s amazing to think that our family are just 20 months into the story here at the vineyard. With that comes a great deal of news and progress, so to cover all of the various achievements and plans thus far, each of our family have written a summary of the year.

Today, Matleena summarises her 2018.

You may think that my review of the year is rather late now, but let me explain. As the bookkeeper of the company my year runs from April to March so this is just the right time to review the last 12 months.

As the only member of the team with a “proper job” on the side, my time is spent juggling between paid employment and unpaid, but fun, manual labour around the site here. Because of my other commitments I don’t really have full ownership of any one part of running the vineyard, but instead I’m a spare pair of hands wherever needed. And I seem to be mostly needed outside – pruning in the winter, maintenance work in the spring, canopy management in the summer, woodland and landscape in the autumn. I also occasionally check in with the indoor team and offer unsolicited opinions on various subjects and then float off back to work leaving the rest of them to work it out.


It's been pretty widely mentioned here that I'm not an indigenous Englishwoman. I was born and bred in central Finland, surrounded by lakes and forests. I fancied myself a cosmopolitan city girl, after all my home town is the seventh largest in the country! When I moved to the UK in 2012 I first lived in London, which very comprehensively showed me that I was not a cosmopolitan city girl. The seventh largest town in Finland is only about the size of Worcester! The whole country has a smaller population than London, by millions. Actual millions, enough to form another country. So whilst Chris still introduces me as his crazy wife who moved to live with her in-laws in the sticks, I don't think it's as crazy as living in London.

Strictly Worcestershire

Earlier this year I reduced my hours at my other job in order to fit in more vineyard work and more opinions. One of the first things to take up my newly freed up time is getting ready for Strictly Worcestershire dance competition in May. Chris and I have been learning to dance so we can perform in front of 700 people at a black tie charity gala dinner. We're a little bit vertically challenged as a pair, with around a foot between us height wise. It doesn't make the ballroom hold very easy! We've opted for two dances that have limited time in hold, which at first seemed like the obvious answer, but having witnessed Chris's Charleston swivel and arm flapping I'm not so sure anymore. If anything, at least it should be fun for the audience!

As part of the Strictly experience we are also raising funds for Worcestershire Animal Rescue Shelter, and I’ve been leading the campaign for that. We are hosting a charity wine tasting event later this spring, which has now been published in the events section. If you would like to help but can’t make it to the event, you can donate through our JustGiving page .

Learning about wine

Another thing that is creeping into my schedule is learning about wine. Chris insists that I have a good palate so I should get more involved with the wine itself. Another opportunity to have some opinions! So I’ve attended wine tastings, sat in on our own tasting panel when we sampled our still developing 2018 vintages, accompanied Chris to Raw Wine Fair and will join him later this spring for Real Wine Fair as well. You might think that a day of sampling wines from all over the world sounds like great fun, but it’s actually really tough! Firstly, you’re not really supposed to swallow. Proper winos spit, and as weird as it first is, you soon get used to this disgusting habit. And you miss out on the buzz. At Raw Wine my palate was done by lunchtime, and my mental capacity to analyse what I was tasting had fried. I slept the whole train ride back home.

In the next 12 months I anticipate carrying on with more of the same. The outdoor work I enjoy the most, but the creativity of winemaking also fascinates me, so perhaps one day you’ll be able to drink something that’s all mine!

Matleena Haywood

#2018 #vineyard #Woodland #matleenahaywood #2019 #strictlyworcestershire

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Astley Vineyard,

Hampstall Lane,

Stourport on Severn,


DY13 0RU

Copyright Astley Vineyard 2021

Photography Copyright Don Fossey/Peter Goddard/Peter Lopeman 2021


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Astley Vineyard's new shop and winery were partly funded by the LEADER programme,  administered by Worcestershire County Council, and part of The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development:

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