Newent Gloucs GL18 1LS
OS Grid Reference: Hereford Sheet: 715290
Facilities for disabled persons
Wine maker Martin Fowke
Three Choirs was named after the Three Choirs festival, held tri-ennially in Worcester, Hereford and Gloucester cathedrals. The vineyard was planted in 1973 and has now grown to 65 acres and an output of 250,000 bottles.
The winery makes wine for most off the Severn Valley vineyards and produces 'own label' brands for many organisations. Now a major tourist centre.
Three Choirs also have their own Internet site
Three Choirs- features
Three Choirs has progressed far from the small vineyard housed in
old farm buildings up a winding track. The current set-up is profitable,
but financially complex. Oldacre Feeds have invested over £1million in
land and new buildings on the main road, allowing them to tap into the
tourist market and to entice over 40,000 visitors a year to the shop
and restaurant. Oldacres rent the winery and land to Three Choirs.
The vineyard manager is contracted to produce grapes at an agreed price
for the winery. Martin Fowke, the winery director, produces the wine
and sells it to the shop and restaurant (about 25% of production) and
to the retail trade. Contracts from Asda, the International Wine
Society and other supermarkets result in a constant demand for new
blends and products. This in turn means that the winery keeps most
of its production in tank so that blends can be created as required
and that little 'old stock' has to be sold off cheaply as happened in
The imploding winery
The winery is a 'state-of-the-art' building, designed with food inspectors
breathing down the builders necks. The original specification called
for a virtually air-tight building with gas detectors. The first
fermentation resulted in the Carbon Dioxide setting off the detectors,
so extractor fans were installed. The first use of these almost
caused the building to implode, as air whistled in through weaknesses
in the doors and windows to replace extracted air.
The winery has viewing facilities to allow visitors to watch the wine
making process, as well as a separate picture exhibition and film show
to allow them to see the yearly work cycle. The bottling line in its
almost sealed room can be viewed from the tasting room . Within the
winery itself is a labelling line that can either be attached to the
bottling line, or can be run separately.
Reflections in the vineyard
The vineyard has now expanded over a former orchard alongside the main
road. Currently there is experimentation with reflective sheets to
increase heat available to the vines. Martin Fowke believes in labelling his wine as 'estate
grown' so needs more home-grown grapes to satisfy demand. The company ae also looking for partnerships to grow grapes and to satisfy the growing demand
1001 ways to use a tractor
Three Choirs have developed various tractor
fittings to aid the maintenance of the vineyards. One of these is to
summer prune the surplus growth on the vines.
In this particular picture, the Huxelrebe was being pruned - not the
most popular crop. It was described it as being prone to frost, always
looking sick, thick skinned , unwilling to free-flow in the press
and with juice that clogs the filters every 10 minutes. Unfortunately
, the public love the wine !