Raising a glass to Bishopston winemaker

June 27 2013

Guests raised a glass to the launch of a new rose wine produced on the outskirts of Bristol by a Bishopston resident.

by Rebecca Day

Guests raised a glass to the launch of a new rose wine produced on the outskirts of Bristol by a Bishopston resident. Ingrid with Sir David Attenborough

Ingrid Bates introduced her new Pinot Noir Rose – Dunleavy – at the Grape and Grind store on Gloucester Road, where local people gathered to celebrate at the end of May.

Grown on Dunleavy Vineyards, near Wrington in North Somerset, it took three to four years before a grapevine was established, and mature enough to harvest grapes from it. The vine plants had to go through a process of being trimmed back and trained before they were ready to grow the Pinot Noir grape. 

“The vines start growing every year around the end of April,” explains Ingrid.  “They then form little flowers around mid-summer which, if pollinated, form grapes that are then harvested at the end of September.”

Ingrid describes how the grapes are then carefully put into stackable crates and driven around 40 minutes up the road to an international, award-winning wine maker. “Still wine is usually ready in the following April but sparkling takes twice as long and is usually left a few years before drinking.”

After looking after Thornbury Castle’s vineyard in 2004, Ingrid developed a desire to grow her own. “I really loved it,” she exclaims, “but I wanted to get involved with the whole process, not just the growing. I’m a fairly creative person so wanted to create my own label. I saved up for a few years and then began the long process of creating my own vineyard.”

Despite Pinot Noir being “notoriously difficult to grow”, Ingrid chose the grape because it “makes fantastic wine”. Dunleavy wine launch

“I like a challenge,” she explains. “Pinot seemed to be doing really well in other English vineyards and the wines produced were doing well in competitions.”

The wine exudes a soft, fruity aroma and a colour which is slightly darker than usual rose wines.

“Dunleavy” is Ingrid’s partner Stephen’s surname; she felt that the name would work well on the bottle because of the flow of letters. The label, which is simplistic yet bold in style, has a distinctive beetle that sits above the “v”. Having studied the insect during her biology degree at Imperial College London, Ingrid spent her summer months working on projects involving the dung beetle.

“I love them,” she said. “They symbolise something that is very important to our ecosystems, which is often overlooked.”

Not only has Dunleavy been well received by everyone who attended Grape and Grind on May 30, but also by the BBC’s nature guru Sir David Attenborough.

Ingrid confirms the first harvest was a only couple of hundred bottles, but she hopes to produce a few thousand per year in the future.