The Hanleys’ Wine Cooperative – Vines Distribution in the Villages

Jenny and Joanna

The Hanleys’ Wine Cooperative’s project to grow vines in the community and then harvest the grapes and make wine has got off to a smooth start, a descriptor that we hope will apply to our wine! 100 vines were purchased and distributed to the various interested parties towards the end of April. The photographs show Joanna Bowles and Jenny McGowran of the organising group, hard at work having fun on distribution day, and two satisfied ‘customers’, Neil Hornby and his daughter Christie receiving vines from Jenny, ready to go off and do the planting.

The vines have been placed with 36 individuals and 3 organisations They are planted at 38 different locations – private gardens, allotments, Hanley Castle Secondary School, The Bridge gardens (The Bridge Education Centre is a local charity offering City & Guilds courses in Horticulture and Animal Care) and in the horticultural grounds of Aalps College (AALPS is an Adolescent to Adult Life Preparation Service offering specialist support to young people aged 15 to 25 with autistic spectrum disorders).

Neil and Christie

The project has achieved one of its first objectives – to disperse itself widely within the community and bring together parts of the community with different backgrounds, skills and interests that will improve the chances of the project becoming a success. Once the project is established,  harvesting, pressing and bottling will provide many opportunities for project participants to get together, have fun and learn new skills whilst working together to achieve an enjoyable end goal.

The vines are now sprouting and are about 600mm tall. This year’s harvest will not be suitable for wine making and it may not be until the 2013 harvest that the grapes will be ready for full scale wine making. In the intervening time the group will stay in touch through meetings of the Hanleys’ Garden Club and an annual summer party where participants can exchange experiences and yes you’ve guessed it – have some fun!