Welcome to our blog!
We are the Haywoods, the brand new owners of Astley Vineyard, and we are incredibly excited to be here. On this blog, you will find our collection of thoughts and stories, our ups and downs, and our more academic ponderings as we live our lives here in the country. We hope you enjoy it.
So without much ado, let us set the scene of where we now live...
In 1971, the Bache family established Astley Vineyard in Worcestershire. It was the most northerly vineyard in the World at the time, and there was certainly not a market for English wine. They planted four vineyards overall - one next to the house, two experimental plots in the site's valley, and one where the main vineyard stands today. The Baches were revolutionary, and decades ahead of their time.
In 1993, Jonty Daniels and Janet Baldwin acquired the vineyard. Still very much before a market for English wine really existed, the couple poured their life and soul into the estate, making it what it is today. Focused on producing low yields and quality wines, the vineyard went from strength to strength, earning national and international awards throughout their 24 years. Jonty and Janet are truly the keystone of Astley's success.
In July 2017 Jonty retired from the business, and our family purchased the now legendary English vineyard. We are a family of five (parents Tim & Bev, son and daughter Chris & Daisy, and their Finnish daughter in law, Matleena) and we plan to work with the now excellent reputation of the vineyard, and develop the site to its full potential.
Originally based just 20 minutes from the vineyard near Ombersley, our plan to live the 'vineyard life' arose from living a hectic life in between London and their West Midlands home. Tim's approach to retirement age, Bev's desire for a more family-centric life, and Chris's passion for wine and spirits drove the decision to move, and now just a short time into their relocation, things couldn't feel more right!
A great many plans are in the pipeline for the vineyard - least only, all new branding and a revamped visitor experience - and although the temptation is there for us to try to tackle every one of our ideas at once, this is a project of a lifetime and so we mustn't rush into it.
Ours is a story of progress and growth. Although we have taken on a vineyard with incredible potential, we are far from where we see ourselves and the vineyard in 10 years time. There is a great deal of heritage to respect here, yet we also believe that there is a lot of room for growth and improvement within that boundary.
Join us on our journey, and see what this great little vineyard can really do!