For years Breaky Bottom has been blessed with Barn Owls and Little Owls. About a year ago I did hear, on a couple of occasions, the distinctive call of a Tawny Owl. They usually prefer denser vegetation but as the trees that I planted mature I’ve always hoped to attract them. Last year I put up a Tawny Owl nesting box. Four days ago, Christina and I were thrilled to hear the calls of a courting couple, a prelude I hope to baby owlets in the spring!
Every year is different of course, but 2018 had a real wow factor – drought. Breaky Bottom saw no rain at all for some 70 days or more! But vines thrive in these conditions and we had high yields of excellent quality grapes. Thanks to everyone who helped with the bumper harvest.
After 20 years of the familiar Breaky Bottom label, 2018 saw a full brand redesign, including a new presentation of the bottles and a new website. We were helped by designer (the now late) David Cecil Holmes, with hugely experienced marketing & design team David Haseler, Keith Lay, Rory Lay and James Fleming. We were all keen to keep the continuity of the Reynolds Stone logo but marked a big change with a revolutionary aluminium neck tag instead of the traditional foil. The trade is applauding it, and I hope you like it too.
I feel the new website reflects the distinctive spirit and wonderful landscape of Breaky Bottom. I loved the old site for its ‘antique value’, but acknowledge that we needed to refresh… And now it’s even possible to buy Breaky Bottom wines directly online!
I’m delighted that the long-established London wine merchants Corney & Barrow have chosen Breaky Bottom as one of their English sparkling wines. They offer three cuvées, the 2009 Chardonnay/Pinot (Gerard Hoffnung), the 2010 Chardonnay/Pinot (Reynolds Stone) and, as a ‘pinnacle wine’, the 2010 Seyval Blanc (Koizumi Yakumo). It’s such a pleasure to work with wine buyer Rebecca Palmer who has already made three visits to Breaky Bottom, often accompanied by several colleagues.
As many visitors know we built a beautiful ‘formal’ carp and goldfish pond at Breaky Bottom in 1995, but sadly it doesn’t allow frogs, toads, newts and dragonflies to thrive. So, this spring I decided to dig a small shallow wildlife pond just outside the garden wall stocked with native aquatic pond plants. It’s already attracting a wealth of insects, and birds of course, and is a useful source of water for hedgehogs, particularly in such a dry summer.
My flock of ewes currently numbers only 19, but last spring they produced 36 lambs, including three sets of triplets. This is the first year we’ve not lost a single lamb, a rare experience as any shepherd would confirm.