As the summer progressed so did the surprise sunflowers in the middle of the vineyard. We left this space spare because we couldn’t source the exact grape variety we wanted so we figured it would be better to wait for a year and get things right. Tim decided growing some sort of quick growing organic matter would help the soil, something to help the pollinators would also be great and if it provided winter bird food then that would be ideal. Sunflowers it was!
We planted them at the end May (this is late for sunflowers), and what followed was the most amazing crop ever seen! The rain came at the right time, the pigeons left them alone and the bees had a great time flying around them! However the tasting barn wasn’t ready so we couldn’t open. A chance meeting in August with one of the Rutland Sailabilty coaches late one afternoon over the gate of the vineyard put a seed of an idea inside Tim and Zoe’s mind!
A few weeks later over bank holiday weekend the Rutland Vineyard opened its gates for the first time and welcomed people in. For £10 anyone could pick as many sunflowers as they wanted and all the proceeds would go to Rutland Sailabilty.
Three days later over 1400 people had visited, sunflowers galore were cut and thanks to the amazing generosity of all the visitors we had raised £5,147.60! Zoe donated the funds in September and Rutland Sailaibilty are looking at purchasing a new rescue boat. We knew at this point we already had the best customers even before we’ve opened!
The sunflower charity event was so brilliant we hope to repeat this in 2022 for another great local charity.