Old Walls Vineyard, Bishopsteignton
A choice of one thousand vines should be enough to tempt you to visit Old Walls. Located in Bishopteignton, just outside of Teignmouth, the family run vineyard offers incredible variety. As well as pumping out up to 20,000 litres of wine per season, the Dawe family can also offer you an hour’s respite in their tearoom or an insight into the world of wine on one of their tours.
The vineyard is steeped in history, as evidence that dates back as far as 2000 years suggests that Romans originally used the site for wine production. The name ‘Old Walls’ is derived from the yard’s proximity to ‘Bishop’s Palace’; a historical building that was erected by Walter Bronsecombe, a highly respected and pro-active bishop from 1258. Ken Dawe has contributed to the restoration of this monument, and Old Walls is named in honour of the humble patriarch.
The land’s natural fertility paired with the 90 years of experience that the Dawe’s have in farming local land, makes for fantastic produce. No expense is spared at the Dawes; the modern technology they use to harvest their wine is used at the finest New World wineries. According to the Old Walls experts, the key to fine wine is ‘cleanliness and speed.’ The more quickly the grapes are harvested and pressed, the more flavour is harnessed. The family admit that the art of wine making owes a lot to science. Stainless steel tanks are used to keep the wine in optimum condition while it ferments, and this process is left to take its course for 4 to 6 months before the wine is filtered, bottled and labelled. Regardless of whether your tipple of choice is red, white or rosé, you can rest assured that meticulous attention to production has produced the most palatable wine possible.
The inexhaustible knowledge of the Dawes is at your disposal on one of their tours of the vineyard and winery. From finding out that the colour of wine is not determined by the grape, but whether or not the grape skin is used in the fermentation process, to trying a few of the appertifs for yourself, a tour is a fantastic way of acquainting yourself with Old Walls Vineyard. Due to the steep terrain, the tour may be difficult if you have mobility issues. In this case a leisurely afternoon on the terrace of the tea room, overlooking the valleys of Teignmouth, or a browse in the winery shop should be on the cards. Wine is also available to buy online at www.oldwallsvineyard.co.uk
From the moment when the grapes are picked in October, to the decision on whether their vinification will be classified by means of ‘blush’ or ‘sparkling’, intricate attention is paid to their harvesting. The 27,000 bottles that Old Walls finally produces should give you plenty of choice when looking for something to save for a special occasion, or simply something to take away as an accompaniment to tea.