In Conversation with...Ingrid Bates of Dunleavy Vineyards

Dunleavy Vineyards are situated in the beautiful Chew Valley in Somerset. Here, at English Wine Kiosk, we believe the people behind the brands are just as important as the liquid in the bottle. We caught up with Owner, Ingrid Bates, to discover what inspired her to plant a vineyard. 

How did you get into the wine industry?
I did a Biology degree at Imperial College London then worked at BBC Bristol as a Junior Researcher for a couple of years before moving into gardening and horticulture. I’ve come [to the wine industry] from the horticultural side. 

What did you want to be as a kid?
A vet or David Attenborough 

What advice would you give to your younger self?
Be a bit louder and go for it! 

Do you have any vineyard/winery/harvest rituals?
I love a routine! Everything I do is repetitive – a vineyard is like a factory line in terms of the labour involved. 

How do you deal mentally with the long hours and unpredictable nature of the job?
I work out how fast I can do a job and how many days it will take me. I try not to worry about the weather as I can’t change it! 

If you were to plant a new vineyard now, which varieties would you plant?
I have Pinot and Seyval – I think I’d do the same… maybe some Reichensteiner, Rondo or late Pinot… 

Who would you like to collaborate with?
I love collaborating at all levels – I talk a lot to cider producers and restaurants etc in Bristol where I’m based. I collaborated with the illustrator Chris Riddell for a few years on limited edition artwork for some of our labels which was fun. 

What sets your vineyard/wine apart from others?
It’s just me doing basically everything vineyard and marketing/sales and winemaker Steve doing winemaking – people often think I have a big team behind what we do which makes me laugh. 

Tell us a little about your vineyard dog… (Ignore this if you don’t have one – or buy one quick!)
I had one, but no longer – I have a vineyard guinea pig which I intend to post on social media this Spring… it has a very funny face. 

What’s your favourite time of year in the vineyard/winery?
Early summer after frost risk has passed. 

If you could invite one celebrity to the vineyard/winery, who would it be and why?
Morrissey – both Steve, (Dunleavy’s winemaker) and I love him. I commute out to the vineyard from central Bristol so listen to a lot of music on the way. 

If you were a grape variety, which one would you be?
Something reliable yet a bit understated urm…. Reichensteiner! 

What do you like doing in your spare time?
Watching TV, doing things with family (I have a young family), visiting new places, listening to live music when I can. 

Describe yourself in three words:
Quiet, creative and funny (sometimes) 

Quick Fire Round
1. Still or sparkling? Oooh… hard one….. still… I think…
2. Chardonnay or Pinot Noir? Pinot
3. Oaked or Unoaked? Unoaked – definitely – hate oaked
4. Smooth or crunchy peanut butter? Crunchy
5. Marmite? Yes!!!!!

A huge thank you to Ingrid for taking the time to talk with us – we loved hearing your answers and cannot wait to see photos of your Vineyard Guinea Pig!

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