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Sheep enjoy first day at work Nyetimber vineyards

Today (13th November 2012) 250 local sheep have been put out to graze across Nyetimber’s West Sussex vineyards.

nyetimber sheep

250 new seasonal employees enjoy their first day at Nyetimber Vineyards : Photo by Charmaine Grieger

After a successful trial in 2011, the seasonal workforce will be employed for the winter months, helping to keep the vineyards tidy. Nyetimber is the first winery in the UK to use sheep to help with vineyard ground management over the winter.

Working with local farmer, Chris Hodgkins of Locks Farm, Pulborough,West Sussex, the 250 sheep will graze across six vineyard sites totalling nearly 100 hectares.

Cherie Spriggs, head winemaker at Nyetimber, comments ‘This is one of those great win-win situations for the sheep, for us and for the environment! Chris the farmer can rest his pasture, and we get a lovely flock of new employees to help us keep the grass low. Not only does the short grass help lower the risk of frosts, it also means we use less fuel mowing and even get some additional manure for our soil. It’s a sustainable and ecological way of managing our vineyards and we’re delighted with our latest recruits to the team at Nyetimber.’

The introduction of these sheep reflects Nyetimber’s commitment to environmental best practice. As the pioneering English vineyard that first planted only the three Champagne grape varieties to make their award-winning sparkling wines, Nyetimber continues to find new ways of driving quality from vineyard to bottle.

Chris Hodgkins won Sheep Farmer of the Year in 2009 at the Farmers’ Weekly Awards and rears Romney sheep using the most natural methods possible.


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