The Story



Swallow Hill is a new small artisan vineyard and cellar



We are Dr Dianne and Mr  Brian Dawes


This website/blog is part about our life(s) in SA and in Cumbria – and also a record of the building of our vineyard and cellar and also a collection of rants and articles about our experiences. (more later)


The Vineyard:


  • We are self certified as organic and vegan.
  • We planted 1 hectare of Viognier in Nov 2008 (~ 3 000 vines)
  • ~1000 vines died in the first 4 months – too hot in growtubes (see blog)
  • We replanted ~1 000 Viognier vines in August 2009
  • We planted 1 hectare of Tempranillo in August 2009 (~2 700vines)
    • Total nr of vines 5 700


The Artisan cellar

  • approx 25 metres x 10 metres – ideal for processing 7 000/10 000 bottles per year
  • Fit out started  Feb 2012 – with intention to process 2 to 3 tonne of Tempranillo in 2013
  • Trial/proofing run in Feb 2012 on 480kg of Merlot (Elgin) and 700kg of Cabernet Sauvignon (Barton)
  • Feb 2013 – Small quantity of our own Viognier 0  made the brown/orange juice method. Birds take out most of the rest of the crop
  • Feb 2014 – Mildew prevents a good crop – what little is left we blend with some Chenin and Chardonnay and the red with some Merlot. We create The Natural Blonde and The Red One. Both good. The Red One sells out by the end of 2017. The NB by May 2018
  • Feb 2015 – Approx 1 tonne of Viognier and half ton of Tempranillo. Goes missing at bottling. This is the last tome we use a subcontractor or consultant!!!
  • Feb 2016 – year 1 of drought . 1 tonne of Viognier and half tonne of Tempranillo . We are suffering from the drought and previous mildew. We make some Rose; some White and some red. Rose and White sell out immediate. The Red is not good – due to the consultants!!
  • Feb 2017 – a better year. 1.5 tonne of Viognier and 1 tonne of Red. Still at about half of the desired production at this stage.
  • March 2018 – Year 3 of drought. A real disaster. Arrested growth = 250kg of Tempranillo and only 60kg of Viognier.  We co-ferment BUT will be lucky to have 200 bottles – so much for 6000 by NOW…


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