Meet the family!
We’re originally from South Africa, and moved to the UK in 2007. Although we were very enthusiastic consumers of wine, we had no wine-making or farming experience. We weren’t quite sure what the UK held in store for us… But we had a love of the outdoors, a love of nature and we were looking for an adventure. In 2011 we discovered beautiful Folkestone, and found Terlingham Vineyard up for sale. It felt like home right away… Not least because our Grandparents, were born and raised in nearby Ashford before emigrating to South Africa. So, coming “home” just felt right.
We jumped in! And, doing everything ourselves, we built Terlingham Vineyard into the magical space it is today. Almost ten years in and we are loving it, and excited about where this adventure is taking us as a family.
We love to share our beautiful space, and we hold regular wine tastings, wellness retreats and other special events
The vines were planted in 2006, so the vineyard was just getting into its stride when we took over. When we did, it was being farmed in a standard commercial way, using a range of artificial chemical pesticides, herbicides and fungicides.
As we learnt more, we realised we weren’t comfortable with what we were putting into the soil and its impact on the local plant and animal life. We took the leap to move to natural farming over 7 years ago.
This means we don’t use any artificial pesticides, fertilisers or herbicides. We encourage the natural wild grasses and flowers that grow amongst the vines, and we welcome the bees, butterflies and spiders that accompany them! We do everything in the vineyard ourselves, by hand, and we make our wines in a traditional, low intervention way as well.
Mum and Dad
Graham: A career as a solicitor and property developer does not really prepare you for life as a farmer. I had never really ‘worked the land’. But I know an amazing opportunity when I see one! And I knew that with enough hard work as a family we had a chance to create something very special. I went back to school – to Plumpton Agricultural College – to get up to speed on the technical aspects of growing and making wine.
Lorna: Having run a landscaping business for years in South Africa, I’ve always loved working with the seasons, being outside, and giving all my love to beautiful growing things! Now I have 5,500 vines to look after … and I tend to each one by hand at least 30-40 times in each growing season – these are very needy babies, but I love each one! We have also been lucky enough to work with some incredible wine makers and other wonderful English vineyards.
The sisters - Ashleigh, Caroline & Jackie
When we first moved to the UK, we spent a few exciting years in the corporate world in London: Caroline as an engineer and management consultant, and Jackie as an in-house legal adviser and corporate wellness consultant. Three years ago, we decided to take a leap and start working together to build the tourism and events side of the family business. Ashleigh is our artistic brain in the family and works at a wonderful creative agency right here in Folkestone, and helps us with our marketing and social media work, and at our wine tastings whenever she can. Our amazing husbands often get involved too, with regular pole replacement, shed repair, sheep rescue and bee management on their to-do lists!