Bonum vinum laetificat cor hominis:
“Good wine gladdens a person’s heart” – Latin proverb
Our vineyard was only established in 2010, although there is evidence that winemaking has taken place in England, on and off, since Roman times.
The area around Poulton Hill Estate is steeped in Roman history. Our vineyard is situated near the Roman town of Corinium, now Cirencester. It is located at the meeting point of three major Roman roads: the Fosse Way, Akeman Street and Ermin Street. When you come to visit us here at Poulton Hill, the chances are that you will travel along one of these ancient ways.
Corinium became the second-largest walled city in Roman Britain. It was also the capital of Britannia Prima, when the country was split into provinces.
For those who have a love of history, and Roman history in particular, there is much to visit in this area. Not far from Cirencester, near the village of Chedworth, are the remains of an impressive Roman villa, with its bath houses and beautiful mosaics.1
Cirencester itself has the wonderful Corinium Museum, with its wealth of Roman artefacts, which tells the story of the town and its Roman past.2
Visitors to Cirencester can also see the remains of the impressive amphitheatre that stood just outside the town walls. These days, its steep-sided slopes are covered in grass but, with a little imagination, it is not hard to envisage the Gladiatorial battles that once took place there, with the 8,000-strong crowd shouting and cheering their support.3
Poulton Hill is also very close to Bath, the Roman spa of Aquae Sulis, sited at the source of a large, natural hot spring. Its famous Roman Baths attract visitors from around the world.4
It is well-known that the Romans loved their wine, and the Corinium Museum has many items, from mosaics to sculptures, that contain images of the Roman God of Wine, Bacchus, after whom one of our grape varietals is named. But how they drank their wine was different to how we drink wine today.
Roman wine was stored in clay amphora, which came in various sizes. Romans drank their wine mixed with water, sometimes even sea water, and often added spices or honey to add different aromas, sweetness and flavours. Everyone drank wine, from the Emperor down to the plebeians and even the slaves, although the quality would have been different. Wine would also have made an appearance at every meal, even breakfast. Bread, if a little stale, would have been dipped in wine to soften it, and watered wine, with spices or honey, would have accompanied a breakfast of wheat pancakes, figs and honey.
The treatment of our vines and our grapes at Poulton Hill is little different to how the Ancient Romans took care of their vines; we undertake the meticulous and time-consuming processes of pruning and tucking and harvesting our grapes by hand with no help from machinery, just a team of willing volunteers working up and down the rows, chatting while they work.
We look forward to welcoming you to the vineyard.