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Great Tour and Lunch

Booked the tour for Four of us, Tom our Tour guide was Informative and passionate about the... read more

Reviewed today
Bob H
Okehampton, United Kingdom
Wonderful find

Great farmhouse products available, delicious meal, the white wine was my favourite - light, crisp... read more

Reviewed 1 week ago
London, United Kingdom
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All reviews wine tasting sandwiches beautiful setting local produce look forward friendly staff family business great service on site lovely lunch informative tour excellent wine excellent tour light lunch my partner great place to visit tables well spaced
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Reviewed 31 August 2019

Myself and my husband david visited alder vinyard yesterday after missing our origional booking the day before. We were made very welcome and our paid booking for the previous day was honoured even though we were the ones that couldnt get to the venue on the origional date. Sarah was so welcoming and informative with a wonderful passion and drive to see the vinyard GROW!! The wine tasting experience was relaxed and friendly and we came away with 4 beautiful wines and other little gifts for myself and my daughter. We would certainly recommend a visit to the vinyard and really enjoyed the time spent there,Our two little dogs were made welcome and I believe they enjoyed themselves too. Many thanks Sarah to you and your family and all the very best for a very successful future project plans will certainly be visiting again and will be ordering some of the wonderful wine.

Date of experience: August 2019
Thank karen h
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 22 August 2019

We met Sarah and had a tour round the vineyard which was incredibly detailed and informative. We found out all about the grapes and how they grow and harvest them. A really interesting morning. Thank you Sarah.

Date of experience: August 2019
Thank TheCritchfields
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 13 August 2019

Saturday 27th July 2019, my husband and I went to visit The Alder Vineyard at Lewdown, where we have booked ourselves on a tour of the vineyard.

This small vineyard, run by four generations of the Westlake family, lies on a south facing, well drained part of the Alder Estate. Set at the foot of picturesque Dartmoor, in the rolling Devon hills, the Alder Vineyard produces quality red and white grapes.

In 2008, the family decided that their farm, which was previously a dairy farm, needed to diversify. Bob and Anne already had established Alder Sportswear, which specialised in wet suits and surf boards, but the farm needed a new direction. ‘The family wanted to do something together that involved everyone, and the one thing they all enjoyed was a glass of wine so establishing a vineyard was something they all agreed upon.

Lots of people who want to get into this business want to produce their own wine, but the family did it the other way round and looked to just growing grapes. The family did their research before committing themselves to the enormous undertaking, visiting companies like Camel Valley in North Cornwall and Sharp hams in South Devon, who proved quality grapes and wine can be produced on a firm commercial basis in the region.

The Alder Vineyard has taken a lot of hard work and dedication on the part of its owners, Mike and Sarah Hodgetts, along with Sarah’s parents, Bob and Anne Westlake, and in 2013 they had the pleasure of producing their first crop.

On October 11th 2013, they picked the first of five tonnes of white grapes from its Madeleine Angevines. Although this was not a bumper crop by vineyard standards, the family hoped its rich produce could in the next few years quadruple and could lead to them have their own wine production in the Lew Valley.

We arrived at the vineyard and were greeted by Sarah Hodgetts and her son Tom, who was going to take us on the tour of the vineyard. Tom is very passionate and very much involved with the vineyard; his enthusiasm is infectious and the wonder of the place is a beauty to behold, such is his dedication to now and to the future of the vineyard.

Tom explained to us, as we walked round the vineyard that in the beginning for the first two years they had to test and analyse the soil to make sure it was suitable. Tom said that the vineyard consists of 3,110 Madeleine Angevines, which are an old traditional French vine and 550 Rondos which produce red grapes.

Tom explained that much of the graft has been done by Mike Hodgett, who is a builder by trade, who works continuously at the weekends and all through the summer evenings on the crop. Tom went on to say that the biggest enemy is frost. The vineyard is up about 500 feet which is perfect for the vines. Too high and you get cold winds, too low and you get frost.’ Tom explained that the vines are on a trellis system which is used in vineyards in New Zealand.

Tom went on to say it’s a year long process before the grapes are ready to harvest. It begins in January with pruning and the getting rid of old wood and rubbish, to help eliminate any disease. Then with the appearance of the buds in April/May the general tucking in and maintenance on the vines and vineyard begins with the spraying schedules.

This is closely followed by the appearance of the flowers sometime in July. Ideally they will appear within a two week window, then set, and produce a tiny grape. Then there is a 90 day wait while they swell and begin to ripen. Sugar and acid levels are checked regularly to identify when they are ready to harvest. Back in 2013, when the first harvest was picked on October 11th, it took a team of 11 people three days to pick the five tonnes of white grapes.

Tom went on to say up until now they have sold their single variety from the Madeleine Angevines to wine producers at the Polgoon Vineyard in Penzance, but as from next year 2020 they are looking forward to having their own wine production unit and hopefully will be producing and bottling their own wine on their lovely Lew Valley vineyard. My husband and I were very excited at this prospect for the family.

The tour normally takes 45 minutes, but as we were the only people on this tour Tom made it extra special, so our hour was an hour and a half. We then arrived back at the reception and wine shop.

My husband and I then had the luxury of sampling their lovely wines. First of all we sampled the 2018 Madeleine Angevine, a lovely white wine with overtones of water melon. It was light, fruity and very crisp and left a lovely clean taste on the palate. Next we sampled the 2018 Rondo, a lovely medium dry rose wine with a strawberry bouquet, and a taste which lingers in the mouth and wants you to taste more.

We spent a pleasant hour here talking to Tom’s mother Sarah and Tom. My husband and I were so impressed with the wine that we purchased six bottles in all, three of the white wine and three of the rose wine. We will definitely be coming back here next year as we want to see how the building of the wine production unit has gone and hopefully see the wine being made on site at this really lovely family run vineyard.

My husband and I packed our wine into the car and said our farewells to Sarah and Tom after thanking them for all their kindness to us.

I would recommend that you visit this lovely vineyard, if you are in this area of Devon.

Date of experience: July 2019
2  Thank Carol B
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 19 July 2019 via mobile

We ( a group of 3 friends) visited Alder in a Wednesday afternoon, our hostess Sarah was very welcoming , passionate about the vineyard venture. We would recommend a visit to anyone interested in how wine is grown and made! The final product is really good, we bought 4 bottles, apart from bottles of local gin and vodka.

Date of experience: July 2019
1  Thank Tony W
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 16 July 2019

A group of us visited this family run vineyard which opened specially for us. This is not a big commercial undertaking, but an intensely personal family business with grandchildren continuing the work started by their grandfather. The views are spectacular and the wine delicious. Other things for sale are all locally produced by small entrepreneurs. Altogether a very satisfying experience, and good luck with the future plans.

Date of experience: July 2019
Thank Sandra M
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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