Yotes Court | Kent
Nestled in the Garden of England, Yotes Court is a modern venture led by progressive and sustainable values from well-known race-horse owner Susannah Ricci. The vineyard is located to the west of Yotes Court, a 17th century English Heritage Grade 1 listed manor house between the picturesque villages of West Peckham and Mereworth in Kent, England. Susannah has sought out the most skilled people in their fields to transform this corner of Kent from a tired house with an overgrown garden and a fruit farm in need of investment into the magnificent Manor House, Vineyard and Cellar Door it is today.
Originally a soft and top fruit farm, the vineyard was meticulously planted in 2016 following discussions with Stephen Skelton MW who has since stated that it is the best site he has planted in over 45 years. He confirmed that the land was ideal for a vineyard, advised on the purchase of the vines, and assisted with the recruitment of Tony Purdie as Vineyard Manager.
Until his move to the UK in 2016, Tony was regional vineyard manager for Babich Wines in Hawkes Bay overseeing 71 hectares spread across four vineyards. He now has twenty-five years of wine grape growing experience under his belt. The common thread which brings New Zealand and UK viticulture together is that to be successful, you must step out of traditional comfort zones and be pioneering in your approach. He has learnt how to get out of trouble in the dire seasons and knows how to push the boundaries to grow the best fruit when the weather is perfect.
Yotes Court is committed to developing strong, healthy vines and producing top quality fruit using sustainable practices. Vineyard manager, Tony, has been heavily involved in helping WineGB to establish the Sustainable Wines of Great Britain Scheme of which Yotes Court is a founder member. In 2021, Yotes Court were one of the first vineyards to produce a fully sustainable wine under the scheme with their ‘On the Nod’ Bacchus and ‘Best Turned Out’ Pinot Meunier Rosé.
Furthering owner Susannah’s philosophy of finding the most skilled people in their fields, she uses contract winery Defined Wine Ltd in Canterbury. Nick Lane, their head wine maker, was formerly wine maker at Cloudy Bay in New Zealand and Moet Hennesy's Champagne Dom Perignon, so the grapes are in safe hands and in 2021, Yotes Court won the ‘Newcomer of the Year’ in the WineGB Awards.
Given the adolescence of these vines and the success and admiration that the wines have already received, this vineyard is definitely one to watch!