For five years, the Stourport estate has been managed by the Haywood family and produces between five and ten thousand bottles of wine a year.
“We are a bit unusual in the world of English wine,” says owner and vineyard manager Tim.
“English wine is generally 75% sparkling and 25% still.
“Here at Astley, the majority of our wines are still wines. They are made from grape varieties that are resistant to our cold climate and specialist grapes selected for the weather conditions we have here,” he explains.
The vineyard was founded by the Bache family who planted grape varieties such as Madeleine Angevine and Kerner long before their potential was realized.
Jonty Daniels purchased the vineyard in the early 90’s and established Astley as a successful wine producer. When Jonty retired in July 2017, his role passed to the Haywood family.
Tim’s son, Chris, who previously worked at Harvey Nichols’ wine store, is the estate’s winemaker and is WSET (The Wine & Spirit Education Trust) Level 3 (Distinction) qualification.
He has also been a judge at wine competitions and a speaker at numerous public events.
The team also includes Tim’s wife Bev, daughter Daisy and daughter-in-law Matleena – as well as vine dog, Finnish lapphund Otso.
They built a new tasting room, which opened in 2018, and run tours of the five-acre vineyard throughout the summer.
Astley is best known for its Kerner, which is a cross between Riesling and Trollinger and well suited to the English climate.
Other grape varieties include Bacchus, Madeleine Angevine, Siegerrebe and Sauvignon Blanc.
“All of these grapes have a distinctive taste. Each year can be different from previous years due to varying weather.
“What you have in a glass of English wine is grapes and sunshine. Nothing is added, nothing is taken away. It is a glass of that year’s time. It gives us the ‘unique opportunity to make wines that taste slightly different every year,’ says former CFO Tim.
The vineyard has taken steps to become more organic and make all elements of the business as sustainable as possible.
Earlier this year, Astley, which sells direct to the public, through farm shops and restaurants, was named Best Food or Beverage Company at the Rural Business Awards.
The company recently teamed up with Hogarths Stone Manor Hotel in Stone, near Kidderminster, to provide an evening filled with the best food and wine pairings Worcestershire has to offer.
On Friday, September 2, the two partners will welcome guests for a culinary and wine tour of the region.
The hotel attaches great importance to using only the best local produce in its cuisine. A commitment to high quality shared by the award-winning organic vineyard.
“Since we took over this business, we have been committed to partnering with the best local businesses,” says Tim, who has a background in viticulture.
“Partnering with Hogarths Stone Manor is a wonderful opportunity to pair our unique wines with the delicious menu their chefs prepare for that special evening.”
During the event, diners will be offered an exploratory five-course tasting menu, combining locally grown ingredients with high-quality meats and fish sourced from surrounding counties.
Alongside the five courses, Astley’s own winemaker, Chris, will take guests on a wine tasting journey. Offering the perfect pairing for each dish, he will tell guests about the different wines and how they are made.
“We were delighted when the lovely team at Stone Manor contacted us about this special event,” says Tim.
“Chris plans unique wine pairings with the delicious menu. It should be a fabulous evening for all foodies.”
Hotel general manager Adam Bessant said the team is excited about working with Astley Vineyard.
“We plan to host regular events with them, at both our Stone Manor and Solihull locations, to provide memorable experiences for foodies looking to explore the best of Worcestershire food and wine.”
Tim says the event is a great way to make the most of local produce and promote what the region has to offer.
“We strongly believe that wine is a drink, but it’s also a drink that goes incredibly well with food. If you get the pairings right, you can turn up the flavor and they complement each other.
“It’s a bit more exciting than just the wine or just the food,” he told Weekend.
To find out more about the event visit hogarths.co.uk/stone-manor/whats-on/a-taste-of-worcestershire-evening or for more details about the vineyard visit astleyvineyard.co.uk.