“If I had walked into a vineyard in the South of France 25 years ago with a steel vine-post, I would have been laughed out of the estate, but nowadays I’m welcomed with open arms!” Adam Lyness, sales manager at EWS Manufacturing Ltd, explained how viticulture has blossomed in the last six years due to the advanced scientific research conducted by experts within the industry.

The UK alone produces around 5.27m bottles of wine during the year (giving an approximate market value of around £82m) and this is only set to grow. Investment in vineyards within the last 10 years has rocketed. The hectarage of planted vines has more than doubled and the forecast of growth is an increase of 50% by 2020.

“The UK market in 2010 was minor in comparison to mainland Europe; when the first steel vine-post was produced in the UK, a mere 20 miles down the road from EWS Manufacturing Ltd. Production was mainly lead by the demand in the European markets, but all of sudden that changed and orders began to flood in from different parts of the UK.”

The UK climate is different to the likes of France, Spain or Germany so ensuring that the correct vine-post is planted is pivotal to the success of planting and growing within vineyards. Laws and regulations on the usage of wooden vine-posts are constantly changing and growers rarely have a clear indication of what is right, but the use of steel makes this selection process far more streamlined. In the UK climate, it is a necessity to use hot dipped galvanised posts. These posts host an array of benefits for the growers – they are more environmentally friendly, they will last longer and they are much easier and quicker to install.

Adam says: “I think it’s fantastic how English wine has made its mark on the map as a high-quality product and this is what we are trying to do with the posts”, Adam explains how EWS’s ethos echoes the market of wine within Britain. “At EWS, we only want to produce the highest quality of product that we can, we use our time efficiently and our partners like Vine-Works give us the heads up of the needs within the market.”

EWS entered the manufacture of steel vine-posts in the more recent years when they were given the opportunity to reinvent the steel posts. Working with experts within the industry, they produced something that offers growers a stronger solution to vine-posts with all the needed and correct features – such as bottom reserve tag configuration and wind holes.

“We work closely with Vine-Works here at EWS, and I strongly believe that communication is key to our partnership. Vine-Works are experts in the industry, they know what growers require and they constantly push to get the most innovative products out of us.”

The business started for James Dodson in 2006, while studying viticulture at Plumpton College, initially offering trellising services to new vineyards in the area and, the business soon grew into a company offering consultancy and project management services for new vineyard installation. The UK wine market continued to grow and in 2010 D’Arcy Gander joined the team to offer vineyard management services… Vine-Works Ltd was born.

Vine-Works offers complete 360° vineyard management consultancy which offers growers the chance to sit down with the team and discuss their requirements and expectations of the land. A reputation built on quality trellising materials and workmanship is pivotal to the business model of Vine-Works.

“It is essential that the right materials are chosen for the right use, and matched to the soil conditions. Buying inferior products only limits the potential of the vineyard success and can prove to be costly if replacement is required,” says James Dodson sharing his expertise on the importance of using steel vine-posts. “The vineyard trellis plays an integral part in the cultivation of the vineyard and when all is said and done trellising can account for 50-60% of the initial cost involved in establishing a vineyard… so getting the right trellising material is critical.”

It is important to remember, that when choosing the right materials for your vineyard they should have, at least, a similar lifespan to that of the vineyard (i.e. 25-30 years if managed correctly). There are many wood and steel posts on the market that are not adequately treated and are thus more keenly priced. Although tempting to perhaps make a saving initially in the set-up of your vineyard, it should be borne in mind that poor quality materials can result in a trellising system that is not adequate for the task. Trellising is integral to a vineyard so getting this asset correct the first-time round is important.

Vine-Works and EWS Manufacturing have collaborated to ensure that growers get the best trellising available on the market. Steel posts should be hot-dipped galvanised to provide them with adequate protection from the element, they should have an adequate number of permanent hooks and the ability to allow for additional hardware, such as wire spacers. No post leaves Vine-Works or EWS without these critical features.

Vine-Works are the UK’s leading vineyard trellis installation specialists and have installed thousands of miles of trellising across the UK. Vine-Works are a unique team; not only are they friends, but this team can identify the exact type of trellis that will ensure the best results for your vineyards. From an initial consultancy to identify what you need, they can supply specialist trellis installation, a skilled workforce and training in the latest viticulture techniques. Managing over 50 vineyards across the UK, James and D’Arcy, have a wealth of experience that can help any vineyard, new or old.

Adam Lyness said: “The guys at Vine-Works are great. They understand that erecting a trellis system is not just simply banging posts in the ground, and they appreciate, like me, that steel posts are the future.”