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In 2020, Hundred Hills became the first vineyard in England to actively use low orbit satellite data collection to monitor soil, nutrients and vine health. Our VineSignal project is being undertaken in collaboration with Deep Planet Artificial Intelligence and is supported by the EU Horizon Project. The project uses satellites and ground sensors to monitor and predict soil health to depths of up to 1.5m. In 2022, Deep Planet will release the findings of this sustainable research with the aim of improving sustainable viticulture, monitoring disease in the vineyard and helping vineyard and wineries worldwide make critical decisions to tackle climate change.
Hundred Hills’ sustainable newly built winery minimizes its carbon footprint. Celotex cavity wall insulation is used throughout the building. Low-level natural ventilation and night cooling is used in the production area and a thermostatic controller maintains an ambient internal temperature of 14°C. Grape pomace during harvest is spread directly onto local farmers’ fields. In 2019 a new wine storage barn was built to store over 200,000 bottles of sparkling wine on lees, and its associated recyclable packaging. This simple building is used infrequently and requires very little energy to maintain throughout the year.
Our methods include hand-hoeing and straw cover to minimise mechanical weed control and the planting of cover crops to help fix nutrients and promote insect life. Soil compression is kept to an absolute minimum while soil surveys and earthworm counts are carried out every season to monitor soil health. No herbicides have ever been used and natural treatments for disease include orange oil and organic sprays. Hundred Hills uses the sustainable pruning system of Simonit and Sirch and at fruit-set we undertake de-leafing to promote natural airflow through the vine canopy. Since Hundred Hills’ vineyards were planted in 2014, there has been no trunk disease, or mildew or botrytis at harvest.
We handpick only the very best grapes with the next best grapes left for the many bird and insect species in the vineyard. Resident wildlife, including badgers, foxes, hares and stoats, have easy access through specially designed gates while our local pheasants take respite amongst the vineyard alleys. We have recently completed a two-year tree and hedge planting exercise and developed wildlife meadows across the estate.
We are delighted to have been shortlisted for the International Drinks Business Green Awards. Sustainability has defined what we do at Hundred Hills since the moment we established the vineyards and winery over ten years ago. We’ve always believed that England has the potential to produce world class sparkling wines using modern sustainable practices, and we’re so proud to be recognised for our commitment to sustainability at the international Drinks Business Green Awards.