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BIDDENDEN VINEYARDS – A BRIEF HISTORYBiddenden vineyards is Kent’s oldest vineyard, established by the Barnes family in 1969. The farm was originally an orchard, but when apple prices began to drop the family started to look for alternatives. Whilst listening to the radio, Mrs. Barnes heard a feature discussing how English vineyards were being replanted, and suggested that they give this a try. An initial planting of 1/3 acres was trialled, and the first Biddenden wine was bottled around 1972/3.
Today, the vineyard has grown in size to 22 acres, and has 10 grape varieties which produce white, red, rosé and sparkling wines. Around half the vineyard is planted with Ortega, the variety for which the vineyard is best known. The rest of the vines are mainly Germanic varieties such as Dornfelder, Huxelrebe and Scheurebe, as well as a number of French varieties including Gamay, as they are well suited to our climate and soil.
Between 50,000 – 70,000 bottles of wine are produced each year. Harvest takes place in late September and can run through to November. All vine work is carried out by hand, including picking and pruning. All of Biddenden’s wines are estate grown, and also pressed, bottled and packed on site at the vineyard
The vineyard also produces a range of strong ciders, made using Kentish apples, which are pressed on site. The fermentation tanks may be seen lining the yard, where the cider is stored before being bottled. Also produced at the vineyard are Biddenden juices, again made from the juice of Kentish fruit with no added sugar.
The winery and storage tanks at Biddenden
|Chicken and ginger||Roast Pork||Pork and prunes||Almond and cranberry flan|