An urgent plea to save the only commercial-scale vineyard in London, tackling mental health, one vine at a time.
In 2020, I wrote about the award-winning, volunteer driven Forty Hall Vineyard, for an Instagram campaign I was running called The Corona Community, supporting small food and drink businesses during the pandemic, many of which supported social or community enterprises.
I was planning to visit the vineyard this summer to write a guide for them, but have just read in the Drinks Business that they need to “urgently” raise £85,000 by the end of May to avoid closure.
Forty Hall is a 10-acre organic and sustainable vineyard based in Enfield, North London which makes still and sparkling wines. Largely looked after by over 70 volunteers, they plough all their profits back into projects to deliver a health and well-being ecotherapy programme, whilst aiming to make the absolute best wine possible. They support around 65 people from the community, dealing with mental health issues, bereavement, stigma and social isolation, refugees, families under stress, job seekers, retirees, independent adults with learning support needs, carers and other marginalised groups. I am sure that the ripple effect means they help a lot more people than that.
This is not an ad, and I am certainly not being paid by the vineyard, but if you know anyone that can help then please let them know. I know first-hand how beneficial enterprises such as this can be for those of us living with or knowing someone with mental health issues of all kinds.
They believe that everyone can benefit from a bit of ecotherapy, and I agree from personal experience with my own mental health.
As for the wine - their Bacchus is terrific and praised by Jancis Robinson and Oz Clarke, so you know it comes highly recommended.
The wines are sold at the vineyard itself and via its online shop, from the farm shop, and through some independent local stores and restaurants.
They are fundraising and could do with as much support as possible. I've donated and if anyone knows a company with a suitable tractor then please let them know.
You can see my original post here on @thecoronacommunity
Hopefully, I will be able to visit them later in the year for their harvest and see the fruits of their labour. I wish them the best of luck.
Visited: Not yet
Photographs: Forty Hall Vineyard
Disclaimer - The views and opinions expressed are solely my own. I paid for the tours in full and any comments reflect my personal experiences on that day. Please drink responsibly. Please visit and garner your own thoughts and feel free to research the brand and the visitor centre in question.