Nestled between the picturesque villages of Old Warden and Cardington, vines were first planted on this beautiful Bedfordshire field in medieval times by monks at the Cistercian Abbey of Warden. Replanted in 1986, the four acre vineyard is now run by Bedfordshire Rural Communities Charity as a community project and social enterprise.
The vineyard relies totally on its volunteers, who are involved in all aspects of its running, care, and wider development. The project works with other local charities and schools to provide a unique setting for learning and skills projects, including help for people into employment or voluntary work, social and therapeutic horticulture, wildlife and heritage projects. Our wines have won awards at national and international level, and have even been served at royal occasions.
We aim to produce award-winning quality still white wines each year, supplemented by a sparkling blend when conditions favour this. We want to celebrate Bedfordshire through the vineyard’s wines, and our blends take their names from people or places associated with the county.
There are three white grape varieties – Bacchus, Reichensteiner, and Muller Thurgau – planted on 5 acres of south-facing slopes. The average yield has been 4-6,000 bottles, but has varied from 0 to around 24,000!
We love showing people what we do here! As a small, working vineyard, we sadly don’t have the capacity to be generally open to visitors, so the Friends of Warden Abbey Vineyard run tours between May and October (advance bookings only) so you can see how the vines progress through the seasons. We also run history tours with local historian Margaret Roberts about the medieval Warden Abbey and how wine was made and used in medieval times.
Our big day of the year, and main fund-raiser, is our September Open Day, with wine sales, tours, local stalls, BBQ, refreshments. Look out for our other wine-tasting and fund-raising events too!