In 2001, this rural Hampshire vineyard was the fourth largest in the UK. The site included a shop, bar, function room and restaurant.
The Vineyard hit the news in 2001 for supplying white wine to an international exhibition dinner in Paris. The owners of the business were personally invited to deliver the wines to the French capital. They hoped to improve the international perception of English wine and make their vineyard a centre of excellent English wine. However, it seems this vineyard wasn’t able to take over the international market as the site appears to have closed not long afterwards.
We visited Wellow Vineyard on two occasions, firstly after dark. After climbing over a couple of fences and gates we trampled through the woods trying to find the vineyard building. We had heard about a number of caravans nearby with very aggressive occupants. On our first visit we followed the track which led us directly to the caravans. These appeared to be empty but walking around the camp in torch light was nerve-racking. The wind causing the tarpaulin to shake was nearly too much for our hearts to take! We turned back the way we had ventured and off the path to try and find the vineyard building. Ultimately though we could not find the restaurant and the fear of weapon wielding inhabitants on site made us give up on this first attempt.
Our second visit however was much more fruitful. We visited during daylight and it was much easier to see the way we needed to go. It’s crazy how not having full vision makes the mind play tricks on you. We quickly made our way towards the restaurant building. Access was easy, the building is decrepit and the walls and ceilings are collapsing. The bar in the centre of the room is still standing and the retro tiles are all in tact which is great feature to see. The fridges and sinks have been thrown around the bar along with other debris.
Not just a vineyard
It was clear that the owners of the vineyard had tried to diversify and make their space a destination for all types of events. All over the floor were leaflets to different events held at the vineyard throughout 2002 such as a holistic and craft fayre. However it seems that these events were not enough for the business as it closed down around this time and the space has been neglected ever since.
There were a few shipping containers and a caravan on the site of the vineyard. The caravan was like walking into a 1990s time capsule. The furniture had been thrown around but there was still tins and empty cartoon from when the occupants last lived here. Clearly somebody was living on site, maybe a caretaker or even the owners. The shipping containers had some agricultural equipment in there. It’s surprising that these were still here and hadn’t been sold by the owners when the site closed.
Last Updated on 23 January 2023 by Michael