The Biddenden Blog – January 2021

Despite continued lockdown restrictions being in place, it’s been a busy start to the year at Biddenden. Pruning is well underway out in the vineyard, apple pressing continues for our own ciders & juices as well as for other local farms & producers and this week we’ve been bottling the majority of our 2020 wine vintage (more on this next month!).

We have also been lucky to have increased online sales and are extremely grateful for your ongoing support.  It continues to be very much a case of all hands on deck, and I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to regularly be out in the van delivering to our trade customers & taking the chance to catch up with so many fellow business owners whilst en route.

For those who follow on our social channels, you will have noticed that we are taking the chance to revisit the story of harvest at Biddenden and this blog also looks back to the end of last year, with the delivery of our three new wine & cider tanks which arrived in October.

Although the events of last year may not naturally lend themselves to thoughts of investment, we have always tried to be a forward thinking business, and when funding became available through LEADER, we seized the opportunity.  Having applied for a grant to assist with the purchase of three new wine & cider tanks, we were thrilled to hear the news that our application had been successful.

If you have visited over recent months, you may well have noticed the tanks which are now fully installed alongside our existing cider tanks outside the winery.  The stainless steel tanks have a capacity of 27,000L each; quite an increase on the 5,000L tanks we currently work with inside the winery.  This has increased our capacity by an additional 76,000L and the tanks may be used for fermentation, batching juice & cider, as mixing tanks and for storage.

The tanks also have state of the art in-tank cleaning capability, which will allow us to use them for wine, cider, juice and other drinks without any risk of cross contamination.

Alongside our own drinks, we work with numerous local & national producers and the tanks will also allow us to press a batch size that will fill a road tanker, allowing product to then be transferred to specialist canning or kegging facilities.

The installation of the tanks gives us an opportunity to focus after the shock of the pandemic and the extended recovery period – life will continue and we are now in the position to be well prepared for being part of the recovery and helping Kent’s drinks industry push forward positively.

I would like to extend our thanks to Huw Jarvis & the LEADER team who have been extremely helpful throughout the process.

– Julian