Located on a thousand year old farm consisting of five hundred acres owned by the Sharpham Trust overlooked by a manor house, designed in 1770 by Sir Robert Taylor situated on the banks of the River Dart near Totnes in South Devon.
The vineyards, creamery and dairy farm have been producing wines and unpasteurised cheeses for over twenty years to local, national and international acclaim.
The farm has its own Red Tractor assured Jersey cow’s producing milk on the farm and grows a range of carefully selected cool climate grape varieties in the vineyard. In both cases in control of production from start to finish. The results are individual, artisan, handmade wines and cheeses which have a unique character and flavour that’ comes as a result in the South Hams area of Devon.
On arrival we were greeted by Guy Haywood who was to be our guide for the tour. Guy promptly provided us with a glass of Sparkling Blanc while he collected his back pack for our walk around the vineyards.
To start with Guy explained that the estate was previously owned by Morris Ash a lifelong friend of artist Henry Moore and it was Morris that set up the vineyard.
The original plantings were in the front field and more than thirty varieties where experimented before finally settling on four varieties: Pinot Noir, Dornfelder, Madeleine Angevine and Phoenix covering 6 acres with their other grapes are sourced on the other side of the valley.
We were then taken through the rows of vines while Guy explained all about the methods of growing and how the vineyard was managed before he took us down to the banks of the river Dart to show us the rejuvenation work the trust were carrying out.
This was such a beautiful setting with the wild birds on the river the sun shining and the peace and tranquillity. It was at this point Guy revealed the reason for the back pack as he produced a couple of glasses and a bottle of Sharpham’s sparkling Pink and we sat down with the in this stunning place and enjoyed our little treat.
Moving on we took in more of vineyard in as Guy explained about the grapes they are growing and how they are suited to each of the locations before we reached the wine cellars and bottling plant.
Here we were shown how the grapes are processed using traditional and new world techniques are employed to produce their range of distinctive and carefully balanced wines. Many of which have received spectacular awards including Regional, National and International medals.
We were then shown around the dairy to see the cheese production area. This had to be from special viewing areas because hygiene is paramount bat again Guy took us through the history and the processes involved.
How starting in 1981 the 18th century coach yard of Sharpham House became the home to the creamery where they now produce a range of handmade cheeses. Using the rich milk from their own accredited Jersey cattle and vegetarian rennet, meaning the unpasteurised cheeses have been so well received that demand now far exceeds supply.
In April 2003 to keep up with demand they moved into a new purpose-built creamery sited next to the winery. The building is modern and larger than the previous building, however the team still employ the same traditional techniques and the cheeses will remain fully hand-produced and free of GM ingredients.
Then finally as part of the tour we were asked to select eight wines to sample and Guy would select the cheese varieties that would compliment each of our selections.
This rounded off a fabulous day and before departing we purchased a selection of wines and cheeses from the onsite shop to take home with us.
I cannot express how enjoyable this place is and how good the produce they make is, I would recommend any of the award winning reds and whites and the cheeses are out of this world.
If you are in the area we would highly recommend spend a day visiting Sharpham Wine & Cheese you will not be disappointed.
Read our Orestone Manor review here