Phil Harris, Vineyard Manager, Davenport Vineyards

No two journeys into the English wine business are the same and Phil Harris the Vineyard Manager at Davenport Vineyards proves this. Originally from Oxfordshire, via archeology and copper mining in North Wales! Phil had always wanted to work on a farm as he enjoyed the work and opted for viticulture for a more scientific approach and glamorous end product.

Phil Harris
Vineyard Manager, Davenport Vineyards
BSc Viticulture & Oenology 

Phil Harris

Vineyard Manager 
Davenport Vineyards

Phil joined Davenport Vineyards in 2007 whilst studying at Plumpton College Wine Division for his BSc Viticulture & Oenology. The structure of the course at Plumpton allowed flexibility to study whilst working in the vineyards 2-3 days a week.

Davenport Vineyards is one of a handful of certified organic vineyards in Britain producing still & sparkling wines, growing nine grape varieties and a multitude of soil types and micro-climates on five separate sites mostly around Horsmonden in Kent. They also make wine for Forty Hall and Fox & Fox  In keeping with the organic ethos much of the vineyard work is done by hand with Phil a advocate of hand weeding under the vines, although there many tasks such as canopy trimming which are mechanised!

Don't be fooled - working in a vineyard isn't easy, the day I visited the local temperature was 30ºC.
Here Phil ties in the top wires on trellis ready for canopy trimming

Phil maintains contact with Plumpton College Wine Division as the network of friends and lecturers allows him to keep up to date with the latest research; he’s even returned to give a talk on English wine. A common trait with Plumpton students & alumni are happy times & memories, like the time on a trip to Bordeaux where students experienced Chris Foss’s ice skating prowess!

As Plumpton wine courses grow, so does the supply of quality students who help in the vineyard gaining valuable experience from Phil & Will. This practical experience is important to grow experienced students with a broad understanding of viticulture & oenology.

Phil is optimistic about the future of English wine and in 2019 plans to plant his own vineyard.

When Phil finally relaxes his favourite wines are anything by Zind Humbrecht, in particular Muscat from Goldert. Given the opportunity he’d travel to Galicia in north west Spain where some vines are grown on steep slopes of the Miño River valley.

Just about every vineyard I visit has a vineyard dog (and/or cat) - at Davenport Vineyards it's Marvin.

A pleasure to meet you Phil and thanks you for your insight into organic viticulture.

Original photography & blog by Ian Pack

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+44 7710 814665

Davenport Vineyards

Photography lighting equipment in association with Pixapro Lighting


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