BACtalks: Wine Tasting Evening with Oatley Cannington Vineyard

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As part of English Wine Week

A fabulous presentation and opportunity to sample the wonderful Oatley Vinyard’s finest Wines.  A small family-run English vineyard, near Cannington in Somerset, they are now celebrating their 25th Vintage and a trail of awards.

Come and meet the inspirational Iain and Jane Awty as Bridgwater Arts Centre presents another fabulous evening as part of their BACtalks season – with the added joys of sampling the products and some nibbles.

Iain and Jane will be presenting 4 of their wines and then with finish off with a taster of award winning South West produced fizz. Throughout the tasting, they will also be telling their story.

£10 / £8 concessions

The Awty’s story:

We, Iain and Jane Awty, moved with our three small children from a typical West Hampstead life in London to Oatley in 1985, to fulfill a dream and plant a vineyard. We have just celebrated our 25th vintage, our now-grown-up children coming back with their partners to help...more about the history >>.

the Bristol-based Western Daily Press weekend supplement of 5th October 2013.

We spent a year searching southern England for a really good vineyard site and finally found it in Jane’s home county of Somerset…more about the vineyard’s geography >>.

Our two varieties of vine, Kernling and Madeleine Angevine, are trained to suit their growth habits and the vineyard terroir…. read more >> We try to minimise our environmental impact. Read more>>

Our qualifications for growing grapes? Well, we met over a biochemistry bench at Oxford University in the 1960’s and we both managed to spare enough time from socialising to end up with honours degrees in chemistry. But more general careers followed, Iain in international computing and Jane in public sector management science. Generic skills that do come in handy even in a small enterprise. We had an allotment and enjoyed growing things, and a longstanding interest in drinking wine. And at 40 we wanted a change. So we read and researched, and yes, English wine it would be. But there was no Plumpton oenology course in those days, so we read what we could find and talked to other English wine growers.

Once we had found our site in Somerset, we were lucky to have had advice from some of the grand old men and women of the English wine industry based close to us, Colin Gillespie of Wootton Vineyard who made our early wines, Jim Dowling of Pilton Manor, Martin Cursham of Staplecombe who also made some of our small-scale wines in the early days and Gillian Pearkes of Yearlstone in Devon. Gillian supplied the stock for our Madeleine Angevine grapes. Sadly only one of those vineyards is still trading.  We learned as we went along. A key moment was a visit by international guru Richard Smart to the SWVA in the 1990s. His talk at local Cannington College revolutionised our canopy management approach, to increase the sunlight our grapes were getting and increase our yields. Lately we have made avid use of the excellent Wineskills courses, EU funded and run across the country by Plumpton College, to up our knowledge of recent world class research into cool climate vinegrowing.

In our photo gallery >> are slideshows of our last years’ harvest days, the Oatley vineyard year, our wildlife, and events such as buying our new handmade barrel and the day the 2009s came back from the winery. Our Vineblog>> goes back to 2006. Or check out our Facebook page>>,  follow us on Twitter>>.