The Fairmile Vineyard are celebrating their 10th anniversary of their vineyard with two celebration tours on 26 August where visitors will be able taste the special Founder’s Reserve.
On 4 May 2012, 12,000 vines were planted at Fairmile Vineyard in one day with the help of a GPS satellite receiver to ensure speed and accuracy of spacing. Founders Jan and Anthea Mirkowski said, “We had purchased the land in 2012, and spent a year preparing it by deer/rabbit fencing, manuring with council compost (derived from kitchen peelings – thank you, local residents), planting a crop of winter mustard to fix nitrogen naturally out of the atmosphere, then ploughing everything in.”
The vines were the classic trio of pinot noir, meunier and chardonnay, discovered by the French centuries ago to produce the best sparkling wines. The vines had already been grafted onto American rootstocks in a French nursery to protect against phylloxera infestation, and also matched perfectly to the chalky, flinty marl.
The vines spent their first year putting down deep roots, the second year developing their trunks, and the third year delivered their first harvest in October 2015. It then took another three years to turn the grapes into fine fizz – a process that can’t be rushed whilst the secondary fermentation works its magic inside each bottle with added sugar and yeast!
Jan added, “We would have been happy if our first release had tasted alright – but it wasn’t just alright. Decanter wine magazine awarded our maiden Classic Cuvée their only “outstanding” rating in a tasting against 53 other white English sparkling wines – many from well-known, long-established English vineyards.
Talking about the Founder’s Reserve, Jan said, “Tucked away in a dark corner of the winery were 500 bottles from that original 2015 harvest, slowly and silently improving, becoming mellower, richer and still more satisfying. We disgorged the dead yeast (lees) out of the bottles earlier this year. Our Founder’s Reserve is tasting absolutely sublime as you’d expect. Consider it an “Outstanding Plus” wine with a total of 7 years lees-ageing! Quantities are so scarce that it’s not going on general release through our normal wine merchants, restaurants, retail outlets, etc, but kept for special visitors to the vineyard.”
Jan and Anthea Mirkowski said, “For us, the most satisfying aspect of setting up Fairmile Vineyard has been to take a piece of fallow land, and to sustainably turn it to productive use, so that visitors can enjoy the ambience of this beautiful slope, and enjoy sampling one of England’s nicest sparkling wines for the price.
There are 2 tours on Saturday 26th August 2023 at either 12:00hrs or 15:00hrs when there will be conducted tours of the vineyard giving our story, explaining about the annual cycle of the vines and how the wine is made. Alex Stevenson, the Owner & Chief Wine Tutor at Thames Valley Wine School will deliver a tutored tasting of our four sparkling wines: – Rosé, Classic Cuvée, Blanc de Blancs 2017 and Founder’s Reserve 2015. There will also be a selection of finger foods with a glass of either our Rosé or Classic Cuvée.
Entry is by ticket only, which you can purchase @ £50:00 per adult from our online shop.