The vineyard is located to the west of Yotes Court, an historic English Heritage Grade 1 listed manor house between the picturesque villages of West Peckham and Mereworth in Kent.
Originally a soft and top fruit farm the vineyard was meticulously planted in 2016 following discussions with Stephen Skelton MW who identified it as a perfect site.
ESTABLISHING THE VINEYARD
In the early years the fruit was grown exclusively for one of the UKís leading still and sparkling wine producers, Chapel Down, with 60 acres of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes harvested annually for their Traditional Method sparkling wines.
In 2018 the owner, Susannah Ricci, decided to expand the area under vines and planted a further 10 acres with a view to crafting wines under the Yotes Court brand.
The land is a beautiful south sloping site looking towards Bidborough Ridge and Tunbridge Wells with free-draining soil full of chunks of Kentish ragstone. When it comes to the soil for growing the perfect grapes the rockier the better.
The continuous weathering of this parent material results in fertile fine clays and free draining sands. The south-sloping aspect allows these rocky soils to heat up relatively quickly, thus altering the microclimate enough to enhance the vine and grape maturity required for fine wine production.
Yotes Court planted Bacchus and Pinot Blanc vines in 2018 at the highest point in the vineyard, 140m above sea level; a sunny former apricot orchard. These vines produced their first harvest in October 2020. A year later Pinot Gris and Divico were planted, and they were first harvested in October 2021.
Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris will be familiar to people who love these wine styles from areas like Alsace. Bacchus is a delicious aromatic variety becoming popular in the UK due to its suitability to our climate and ability to pair with our local foods. Divico is a new red variety specially created with natural disease resistance which fits well with Yotes Courtís sustainability practices, and of course, the flavours to create high-quality wines.