Forty Hall Vineyard Celebrates Record-Breaking Harvest

In the world of wine production, the importance of a successful harvest cannot be overstated, and for Forty Hall Vineyard, the 2023 harvest season was truly make or break. After enduring three consecutive poor harvests, the future of the Vineyard hung in the balance. However, thanks to a remarkable effort, Forty Hall Vineyard managed to achieve a truly historic harvest.

Forty Hall Vineyard is located on the grounds of Forty Hall Farm, with the Farm serving as an educational resource for Capel Manor College’s students.

This year’s harvest at the Vineyard was a testament to the power of community and resilience. The Vineyard had faced many challenges in recent years, but a fundraising campaign, coupled with dedicated volunteers and new equipment, breathed new life into the Vineyard.

Forty Hall Vineyard’s harvest yield this year exceeded all expectations, reaching over 32 tonnes. For comparison, its previous record stood at 19 tonnes in 2018. The grapes were picked over 11 days, spanning three weeks, with each day’s yield surpassing the entirety of 2022’s two tonnes.

Such a successful harvest presented its own challenge. The winery was only able to accommodate 20 tonnes of the crop, which is expected to produce around 18-19,000 bottles of the 2023 vintage wine. To maximize the harvest’s potential, the remainder of the crop was sold to fellow winemakers. The income generated from these sales will provide vital funding to support the vineyard’s ongoing production and community projects until the wines are ready next year.

Volunteers harvesting the grapes

A new addition over the coming months at the Vineyard will include an educational offering in conjunction with Capel Manor College. The College is introducing new viticulture courses, which aim to provide students with the knowledge and understanding of vine growing as they learn hands-on skills at Forty Hall Vineyard. These courses are designed for those who want to learn how to grow grapes, work in a vineyard, or simply have a keen interest in the world of wine. You can find our new viticulture courses here.

The success of this year’s harvest was a collective effort, with friends, family, and local residents joining Forty Hall Vineyard’s dedicated community of volunteers. Over the course of the harvest, approximately 70 volunteers participated each day. The Vineyard’s 80 regular volunteers undertook a variety of roles, from crate distribution to quality control.

The volunteer turnout was a remarkable sight, with more than 200 guest volunteers coming forward to lend a hand. The sense of community extended beyond the local Enfield area, as volunteers travelled from various parts of London and Hertfordshire to show their support and commitment. One dedicated volunteer even journeyed from Liverpool to be part of this special day.

Head of Operations at Forty Hall Vineyard, Emma Lundie, praised the dedication and determination of vineyard volunteers, “With its future at risk, we knew we had to do everything in our power to save the vines and bring in a harvest this year. I am so proud of the way our community came together to make this happen. After three consecutive years of poor harvests morale was low, but we kept going because we all care so much about protecting the Vineyard, which is a sanctuary for so many of our volunteers.”

Volunteers celebrating the successful harvest.

The 2023 harvest season at Forty Hall Vineyard was nothing short of a miraculous turnaround, highlighting the resilience, dedication, and collective spirit of the community. With a record-breaking yield, Forty Hall Vineyard has not only secured its future, but also created a vintage wine that will be celebrated for years to come.

Forty Hall Farm serves as an educational resource for Capel Manor College’s students. The College’s animal management and agriculture students undertake some of their practical lessons at Forty Hall Farm. One-day, floristry workshops are also available at the Farm.

If you are interested in finding out more about our courses and the subjects you can study at Forty Hall Farm, please click here.

Volunteers sorting through the harvested grapes.