WineGB’s Coronation Pledges
Large scale wildflower planting to encourage further biodiversity
Yotes Court is a 70-acre vineyard based just outside Mereworth in the heart of the Kent countryside.
Originally a soft and top fruit farm the land for the vineyard was acquired in 2014 by Susannah Ricci. After consultation with Stephen Skelton MW who described it as the perfect site for a vineyard, in 2016 the first vines were planted. Fast-forward to 2023, Yotes Court is an award-winning producer of sustainable, vegan wines with a visitor centre comprising a beautiful Paddock Lawn, Cellar Door Barn and a Tasting Room converted from the top half of a tractor shed. They all look out over one of the most spectacular views in Kent.
Susannah is devoted to sustainability, a value that is shared with vineyard manager Tony Purdie. As a viticulturist, Tony is driven to grow the highest quality fruit while maintaining the health of the vines and the land they are anchored into using sustainable practices. He was heavily involved in helping WineGB to establish the Sustainable Wines of Great Britain Scheme (SWGB).
With a strong commitment to sustainability, being both a founder member of SWGB and releasing some of the first sustainably accredited wines to the UK market, Yotes Court is delighted to be able to demonstrate our commitment to the environment and long-term conservation of the land we farm in the form of this pledge. We see this pledge as a great opportunity to create an attractive focal point while extending our focus on boosting biodiversity within our vineyard by encouraging beneficial insects in an area of land that is currently a rough pasture habitat.
Yotes Court’s Pledge
We aim to create the Yotes Court logo by planting a large area of lavender on a steep south facing slope and in-filling it with a mix of chamomile and clover. This will attract pollinators, beneficial organisms, and invertebrates by providing them with food and shelter and in turn encourage other wildlife to the area.
Starting in spring 2023 we plan to prepare the area by mowing a large square of paddock and cultivating the soil. We will then set out and plant Lavendula x intermedia ‘Grosso’ to create the Yotes Court ‘Y’ logo in an oval lozenge and infill the planting by broadcast sewing a mixture of Trifolium Repens (white clover) and Chamomile.
Lavendula x intermedia ‘Grosso’ is an evergreen shrub with narrow grey/green foliage and long stemmed, very aromatic, deep bluish-purple flowers. It flowers between July and September with a height of up to 90cm & spread of 90cm. Lavendula ‘Grosso’ is well known for attracting bees, beneficial insects, birds, butterflies/moths and a wide variety of other pollinators.
Trifolium Repens (white clover) is a favoured source of nectar & pollen for the clouded white butterfly and the common blue. It provides a great source of nectar for honey and bumble bees and gives shelter to small insects. Clover fixes nitrogen in the soil so it will also benefit the planting around it.
Chamomile is classified as vulnerable under the UK post 2010 biodiversity framework. It flowers from June to August and offers a welcome source of nectar and pollen for small solitary bees, hoverflies and ladybirds. By the summer of 2023, we hope to achieve a beautiful area in the vineyard brimming with wildlife.
We hope that, by creating an attractive focal point, vineyard visitors will post photos on social media and spread the word that we can all play a part in creating & maintaining habitats for wildlife and improving biodiversity.
Stan Lane, West Peckham, Maidstone ME18 5JT