Horringer: Homes are needed for grapevines from Ickworth Vineyard

GRAPEVINES from an award-winning vineyard in west Suffolk are seeking new homes as the land on which they once grew is being returned to its historic use as a kitchen garden.

Back in 1995, Jillian and Charles Macready took over half of the walled five acre plot in the grounds of Ickworth House, near Bury St Edmunds.

Mrs Macready planted nearby Wyken vineyard and her husband had worked in the wine trade in London so it was their dream to return the site to vine growing just as it was in Victorian times when Table Grapes were grown in the greenhouses and stored over the winter in the 1st Earl of Bristol’s summerhouse.

The south facing slope provided the perfect setting for the only vineyard planted on National Trust soil and the couple set to work planting 2,000 vines over a two-year period.

Now the time has come to harvest the last crop of grapes and find new homes for their beloved grapevines as the National Trust - which owns Ickworth House - returns the walled garden to its historic use as a kitchen garden.

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Mrs Macready said: “Our grapevines are in their prime, which is why we want to find new homes for them so that they can continue to grow and flourish.

“As producers of award-winning wines, we know that the quality of our grapevines is second to none. We carried out a trial earlier in the year, with 16 grapevines now happily re-homed in Hertfordshire and several in a veg garden in Suffolk, so we are confident that they can continue to grow and thrive elsewhere, given the right conditions.”

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Each of the grapevines costs �10 to rehome, and comes with full care instructions and email support from Mrs Macready, who planted Wyken Vineyard in 1988 and whose father, a pioneering East Anglian vine grower, planted a vineyard back in the 1970s.

The grapevines need a warm and sunny plot on well draining soil.

Mrs Macready added: “We will also be offering people the chance to come to the vineyard to help dig up their vines, whilst learning more about grapevine care and enjoying some refreshments too.”

Richard Powell OBE, regional director at the National Trust, said: “We are really grateful for the contribution the Mcready’s have made to the continuing story at Ickworth over the years. Their passion and enthusiasm has been a welcome addition to the experience visitors get when they come to Ickworth.”

Four different grape varieties are grown there: Rondo, Bacchus, Auxerrois and Pinot Noir. To find out more contact Mrs Macready by emailing macready@ickworthvineyard.co.uk, calling 01284 723399 or tweeting @Replantavine.

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