Features

Sustainability Spotlight: Sandridge Barton Wines

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Sandridge Barton
Posted on
9 May 2023
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Situated in a picturesque valley in the South Hams, Sandridge Barton, the home of Sharpham Wine, produces an impressive collection of award-winning red, white, rosé and sparkling wines.

A unique marriage of climate, soil and grape varieties, combined with Sandridge Barton’s meticulous care, experience and winemaking skills, makes them one of the foremost wine producers in the UK. Their sustainable processes include hand-harvesting, recycling, and using eco-friendly lightweight bottles and packaging materials, and their new site boasts solar panels, rainwater harvesting, gravity racking and air source heat pumps.

Food Drink Devon caught up with Duncan Schwab, Head Winemaker and CEO at Sandridge Barton Winery to talk about how they address sustainability at their new home near Stoke Gabriel. Here’s what Duncan said…

Sandridge Barton Wines is committed to the sustainability of the land and the vineyards that produce the grapes for our acclaimed wines. As businesses we all have a role to play in being more proactive to minimise global warming.

Our mission is to keep the grapevine, wine, and earth in harmony.

We want more of an expression of the terroir coming out of the vineyard, with minimal intervention by building health and biodiversity in the soil and being less reliant on chemicals. Zero residue is our goal.

A Holistic View – pursuing our terroir goal.

Our ultimate terroir goal is to have the simplest building blocks from which to create our wine. We want the freshest product that is the most genuine in nature.

Ours is a holistic, long-range view toward winemaking with minimal intervention using wild yeasts and reduced use of sulphur and where possible gravity racking and an unfined and unfiltered policy prior to bottling.  It’s this approach, and our commitment to consumer health, that makes sustainability a priority at Sandridge Barton.

We challenge our vineyards to ‘do less’

It’s not always possible to grow vines organically in the UK, but regardless of certification, we try to “do less” in our vineyards.  Whether that’s in pest, weed or soil management, we challenge ourselves to rely on the least amount of synthetic products to render the most genuine wine.

We’ve several trial sites where we have introduced cover crops for weed management, together with sheep grazing and chickens and ducks for pest control.  These trial areas are closely monitored by the vineyard team and students to help to give us a better understanding of the benefit to soils and health of the vines.

We are looking to contract with other professional growers on the banks of the river Dart who share our vision.

Where we dare to ‘do less’

  • New Eco Winery – design as eco-friendly as possible with solar panels, rainwater harvesting and compartmentalised tanks for gravity racking.
  • New Winery Tourism Centre – Air source heat pumps for energy efficient heating utilising our solar panels and stream extraction throughout the whole site (including winery).  Aerobic BioBubble treatment works before returning to the stream.
  • Pest management practices – Zero tolerance to insecticides.
  • Fertilization practices – Where possible utilise natural manure rather than foliar fertilises, therefore building up the health of the soil more naturally.
  • Weed control practices – Promoting mowing and cover crops and not a ‘bare earth policy’.
  • Vegan Wines – None of our wines have any animal products.

Our long-range view on sustainable farming decisions is to have the wine and grapevine in harmony. We must manage that balance to achieve consistency year to year. The least amount of ingredients used renders the most consistent wines. Achieving that balance through sustainable practices is not only the right thing to do, but also the key to our ongoing success.

Sustainability practices at the Sandridge Barton Winery

  • Hand harvested grapes.
  • Our cleaning agents are mainly hot water and steam with minimal amounts of cleaning agents.
  • We recycle all metal, glass, paper and plastic products on premises.
  • Our restrained winemaking practices use minimal outside ingredients.
  • Wild Ferments are encouraged.
  • Gravity racking where possible.
  • The few additives we use are non-GMO and organic where possible.
  • Eco designed lightweight bottles.
  • Pallet wrap and packaging tape eco-friendly.
  • All barrels are repurposed after winemaking use.
  • We use 100% food-grade oils and lubricants in our production facility.
  • Natural corks on some styles.
  • 100% Filtered stream water used throughout the whole site and winery.
  • Aerobic BioBubble waste treatment plant.
  • Rainwater harvesting for washdowns in the winery.

In summary…

Sandridge Barton has a holistic, long-range view toward winemaking with minimal intervention using wild yeasts and reduced use of sulphur and where possible gravity racking and an unfined and unfiltered policy prior to bottling. 

We have a zero tolerance policy on insecticides. We have several trial sites where we have introduced cover crops for weed management, together with sheep grazing and chickens and ducks for pest control. 

These trial areas are closely monitored by the vineyard team and students to help to give us a better understanding of the benefit to soils and health of the vines.

Our new winery has solar panels, rainwater harvesting and compartmentalised tanks for gravity racking.

Our new tourism centre has air source heat pumps for energy efficient heating utilising our solar panels and stream extraction throughout the whole site.

Our Aerobic BioBubble waste treatment processes all our waste water and returns it to the stream. 

Other sustainable processes include hand harvesting our grapes, recycling all metal, glass, paper and plastic products on premises, using eco designed lightweight bottles and eco-friendly pallet wrap and packaging tape.

 

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