Being hands-on as a vineyard owner

Featuring Ben Walgate

Ben Walgate, founder of Tillingham, a natural and biodynamic wine producer based in East Sussex, describes how even the most ‘menial’ tasks can be beneficial.

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A lot of vineyard owners, after a certain point of growth, often get lost in admin and management, but Ben Walgate makes sure that the hands-on part of the job – such as the farming and the bottling – remains part of his duties as the business owner.

He says things such as the farming and the bottling are where he finds release and recharges himself when things get tough.

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‘What I've always loved about my job is that no matter how intense it is, it's always quite diverse: there's the winemaking, the farming, and the marketing and distribution.’

‘Sometimes the more manual, physical aspects of the role can be quite meditative. As the owner, I'm able to dictate what I do with my time, and that's a great luxury.’

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‘There's always something you can immerse yourself in. Some of the tasks can be quite menial, like pruning, but even pruning is a wonderful thing, because even though it's repetitive, you're setting the potential yield for next year and responding to each vine.’