News

Vineyard appeals for help to buy ‘essential’ tractor after three bad harvests

Forty Hall Vineyard needs £85,000 to survive after years of crops ruined by disease and bad weather, report James Cracknell

Tractor on a vineyard
A tractor is needed to help maintain Forty Hall Vineyard through the growing season

Forty Hall Vineyard in Enfield is appealing for help to buy a tractor needed to save the social enterprise from going out of business.

Situated within Forty Hall Farm, London’s only commercial vineyard has been operating successfully since 2009 but has now run into financial trouble after three bad harvests in a row – caused by bad weather and disease – left it with hardly any wine left to sell.

The fundraising appeal aims to raise £85,000 to buy a tractor which will be used to spray the grapevines at Forty Hall organically, something said to be “essential” to avoid another crop failure this year. The money will also cover management costs.

Since being launched on Sunday, the appeal has already reached 10% of its stated goal. Emma Lundie, head of operations at Forty Hall Vineyard, told the Dispatch: “We need the tractor so we can prevent the spread of disease.


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“It is critical to buy it now because the vines are coming to life and we need to catch any mildew. We have got a tractor we share with the farm but it is not fit for purpose and it keeps breaking down.

“The difference between having a crop and losing a crop can just be one day. The disease is within the vines. Organically we need to spray it regularly and make sure we control it. With no crop we have no wine to sell and we already have a shortage from three bad harvests.”

Described as “a place of sanctuary and social connection” Forty Hall Vineyard also provides extra benefits for the community, offering ‘ecotherapy’ as part of its volunteer programme to boost both physical and mental health.

Emma adds: “It’s so important – we don’t want Enfield to lose such a unique project. It would be a massive loss not just for us but for our volunteers, some of whom have been with us since the beginning.”

Anyone who donates £100 or more to the crowdfunder will be invited to a special event in the vineyard later in the year.

Support the Forty Hall Farm Vineyard fundraising appeal here:
Visit
localgiving.org/appeal/tractorfund


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