This month we’re shining our sustainability spotlight on Sandridge Barton, the new home of Sharpham Wine. Retail Manager, Tom Wedgery, tells us what they are doing to ensure their new location operates as sustainably as possibly.
About Sandridge Barton, the home of Sharpham Wine
Nestled in a picturesque valley in the South Hams, Sandridge Barton Wines may appear to be a new winery on the UK wine scene, however, its Devon-based vineyard has been growing grapes for Sharpham Wine since 2008 and has been producing over 60 tonnes of fruit per year from 32 acres of land. Set in a south-facing bowl overlooking the River Dart, the new home of Sharpham Wine has extensive vineyards planted with Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Pinot Meunier, Madeleine Angevine and Bacchus.
A unique combination of climate, soil and grape varieties, added to Sandridge Barton’s meticulous care, experience and winemaking skills, make it one of the foremost English wine producers.
What have you done to make your business more environmentally friendly?
Having moved downriver from the Sharpham estate to our new home in Stoke Gabriel, our new Sandridge Barton site has been built using sustainability and environmental practices. With sustainability at the heart of everything we do, we are proud to be included in the higher level of the Countryside Stewardship Scheme and a member of Sustainable Wines of Great Britain.
Work is currently being carried out across the estate to protect the area’s plant and wildlife species and ensure our agriculture isn’t too intense or invasive. This includes tree planting, the creation of wildflower meadows and the installation of bird and bat boxes to protect rare species. We have banned the use of pesticides and will be increasing cover crop plantings for natural weed control and nutrients.
Our new winery and visitor buildings have been designed with sustainability in mind and have solar panels, rainwater harvesting, air source heat pumps and spring water extraction used throughout the site, in order to further reduce our carbon footprint.
We’re also pleased to announce that the team at Circa in Exeter, led by head chef, Rob Weeks, will be operating our on-site restaurant – Circa at Sandridge Barton.
Rob and his kitchen team aim to do justice to the world-class produce that surrounds us in Devon by offering an exciting menu that changes seasonally. With a philosophy of making as much in-house as possible, from charcuterie to vinegar, and the daily baking of fresh heritage sourdough, you can expect a varied seasonal menu showcasing the very best of Devon.
Focusing on small-scale producers, sustainability is at the heart of Circa’s ethos, from estate-reared South Devon beef, local organic veg and of course seafood from our world famous coastline and Brixham fish market, right on our doorstep.
What would you like to change in the future to improve your sustainability credentials further?
We are currently working towards becoming more sustainable from the ground up, and being a vineyard and wine producer that can be taken quite literally. We have been working with a new agronomist who is helping us to determine the best cover crops to plant in our new vineyard ‘Stonyfield’ so we can increase the microbiology in the soil, allowing us to remove any harmful sprays and subsequently strengthen the yeast populations. As we are moving towards the reliance on spontaneous fermentations with indigenous vineyard yeasts, this will not only benefit the wine but also the environment and biodiversity in the vineyard.
What tips do you have for other businesses that would like to become more sustainable?
As businesses we all have a role to play in being more proactive in how we run our businesses to minimise global warming. Start with the small things like waste management, car share, energy efficiency, water management and get your staff on board with projects that will help attain your goal of being more sustainable. Seek advice from experts where possible, don’t say you are a sustainable company just for the promotional opportunities – practice what you preach, or you will be found out!