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Happy New Year from the motley cru!

Well, I guess It’s back to work now, the last crumbs of mince pies have been hoovered up, turkey leftovers have finally run out and the last drop of the Christmas wines have been drunk… only joking the wine never stops here, it’s the fuel to all our new and crazy ideas so what would we do without it!

Whilst it was lovely to have some time off over the Christmas period, especially after our hugely busy winter wonderland dining experience. Once again thank you to everyone that came along and got stuck into the Christmas spirit, power cuts and all! It wouldn’t be a Motley Cru Christmas now without a power cut, they even managed to find us away on holiday, would you believe it?

Anyways, this week it’s been time to throw ourselves back into work and take a look at what adventures 2023 has in store for us.

Whilst we’re not open to the public at the moment and you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s the off-season here, a huge amount is going on behind the scenes ready for the new season in April.

Winter pruning is fast approaching, a huge task in the vineyard where we trim the vines right back and select our new fruiting canes for the year. The choices we make now will directly impact the quality and quantity of fruit at the end of the summer… no pressure then! Whilst it is a behemoth of a task, it’s perhaps one of my favourite ones. There’s something, dare I say therapeutic about it… I’m sounding more like my mum every day! It’s the thought process behind each vine that I really enjoy, knowing that you’re having a direct influence on the outcome of that vine not just this year but for future years to come. It’s also a great time to churn through one podcast after the next so if anyone’s got any good suggestions, I’m open to recommendations.

This time of year is also when we like to lock the doors, crack open a few bottles of wine and let the creative juices flow. Those trying to eavesdrop would be met with gaggles of laughter as we come up with some bonkers ideas even by our standards. Amongst these, we’re working on some new tour experiences, including a Wine in the Wild series which will showcase our wine in a new and exciting environment. The wine and paddle experience will welcome back paddle boarding on the Exe Estuary twinned with our famous wine and cheese experience! We’re also planning a wine and shooting experience and even a wine-by-helicopter experience so keep an eye out for these! The idea behind these experiences is to bring everyone together for an epic adventure that’s celebrated with great wine and even better company.

Speaking of wine, our new wines for this year are working their magic, new recipes bubbling away behind locked doors. I can tell you I’m just as impatient to try them as you, if not more so! In the meantime, we’re scratching the itch by designing new wine labels and coming up with names which is always good fun. Some ideas are better than others and some are best left in the bin shall we say but that’s half the fun! If you fancy having a go at coming up with a name, send it in and we’ll take a look!

I’m also already thinking about what we should make from this year's crop and let’s just say it’s going to be an exciting year and we’re going to push the boat out once again.

Stepping away from the vineyard, we’re also cooking up some exciting things on the Gin front. Both our Cheeky Ginny and Smokin Ginny sold out at some point over the year so we thought it was high time we have a look at introducing some more options. With the increase in interest for non-alcoholic cocktails particularly at our pizza and cocktail evenings and at our winter wonderland experience, we’re looking into creating a non-alcoholic version of Cheeky Ginny. A magical blend of botanicals, an elixir full of beneficial ingredients, this is very important to us! A third Gin to the Ginny series is also on the horizon and we’re very excited to introduce her and get cracking on developing some new and exciting drink recipes.

Cider blending is also just around the corner, we had a bumper crop this year so we’re looking forward to seeing what we end up with. The blending day is one I always look forward to, it’s a chance to strap on my drinking boots and enjoy some proper Devon cider. Seriously though I love tinkering with our cider, blending it with different fresh apple juices to come up with our final product, so much so, that by the time we’re finished, I almost forget what we actually bottled as we’ve had so many samples!

It’s that time of year again when a handsome ram comes in to charm our ladies and hopefully, we end up with some new lambs in the spring. It’s always an adventure when a new ram arrives as anyone that’s met our sheep before will know, they like to keep us on our toes and there are always several “Motley Mishaps” involving sheep a year. I’m always brought back to the very first ram we brought in “E-Type” or “Kenton” as he became known amongst the family. Kenton was a huge, cocky ram who had a magnificent strut and a wicked streak of mischief in him. I remember seeing him first jog into the field, head held high and with an air of confidence that most men could only dream of. He showed his cheekiness straight away, when not even 24hrs into his stay he decided that he’s had enough of our girls and proceeded to vault the fence into next doors field and chance his luck with… to our horror around 200 new girls. The cheeky bugger dared to go where he pleased and thankfully all of next doors sheep were already pregnant and therefore, wanted nothing to do with Kenton so It was very amusing to pull up the deck chairs, open a beer and watch him waste endless hours trying to chase the herd that had zero interest. Despite all this, in just the single day that Kenton was with us, he seemed to get the job done and we were lucky enough to have 2 lambs from him, clearly he was a quick worker…

Safe to say this year’s ram has some big shoes to fill and we’re eagerly awaiting the next “Motley Mishap” with him.

There’s plenty more going on but I think I’ve rambled on for long enough and we’ll save that for another update, and so that’s all for now folks but rest assured some big things are coming once again in 2023 and we can’t wait to share them with you all! Hope you’ve all had a fantastic start to the new year and until next time, cheers.

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