Oatley Vineyard: The Next Generation(s)

2020 Hindsight

Tuesday, December 29th, 2020

Written by Ned, and posted in the:  Barn ConversionChildrenFamilyStoryVineyard Category

How was your 2020? At the start of the year, blissfully pre-pandemic, we set some goals for our escape to the country: give up corporate life, plant a vineyard, convert a barn, sell a house and, play in puddles (rewind here)

So how did we do?

  1. Give up corporate life.  Well that was surprisingly easy.  Paula didn’t return to work after maternity leave and I took voluntary redundancy in a perfectly timed (for us) global restructure.  Neither of us have looked back.
  2. Plant a vineyard.  Obviously you can’t just rock up and stick vines in the ground but we are well on the way, the field is cleared and ready for final preparation in Spring, and planting is scheduled for May 2021 by Vine-Works.  You can read more about the field prep in blogposts The Site, Timber! and The Field.
  3. Convert a barn.  For the uninitiated (i.e. us), the planning system is archaic and not at all user friendly.  Thankfully we had the expert help of Donna from the Taunton Savills office to help, and in mid December we are delighted to secure permission to build the fantastic design by our Architects-in-Residence, my brother and his wife.  What a Christmas present!
  4. Sell a house.  We didn’t want to commit until we got planning approval on the barn, now we have that our Hampshire home will go on the market January 11th. We have spent most of December sprucing it up a little and as always the small jobs turn into big jobs and once you’ve painted one bit everything else looks like it needs painting too.  Still, the housing market is buoyant due to the stamp duty holiday so we are hopeful for a quick sale in the new year.
  5. Play in puddles.  Oh Yes.  Lots.  Obviously there wasn’t much opportunity to spend time at the vineyard this year but when we did we quickly learned to pack at least three changes of clothes per twin!

2020 will be a year to forget for many, for us it felt a lot like the world was standing still, but looking back we have managed to make great progress to our dream of growing twins and making wine at Oatley.  We can’t wait to put our 2021 plans into action, with lots more puddles (and maybe some puddle suits)!



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