top of page

Our Story

2nd Generation family vineyard

Oatley is one of the few second generation vineyards in England.  Planted by Iain and Jane in 1986-89 after dropping out of corporate London, their very first wine (1990 vintage) won an international award.

Over thirty years later history is repeating as their son Ned and his wife Paula have recently dropped out of successful careers to take over the vineyard and raise their young twins in the idyllic surroundings of Oatley.  And make more wine, of course.

Three generations of the Awty family in front of the vineyard

The Long Version...

We moved from NW6 to Oatley on Michaelmas Day 1985, in a car filled to the gunwhales by 3 small children, a collie dog, 2 cats, 2 rabbits and a tortoise, to follow a dream.  Iain had given up a job in international computing. Jane had been a West Hampstead mum. Most of what we knew about wine came from drinking it. (Still does really). 


We bought two pigs to clear the garden, six chickens and three geese, found part-time jobs, enrolled the kids at the village primary and life was sweet.


We invested £350 in a 1951 Ferguson T20 tractor. (It’d been retired some years by 2012 but then was bought by George, a young local enthusiast, who is bringing it back to life). We used its plough to help lay the black plastic mulch, but otherwise planted the vines by hand. 


Jane kept a journal in the early days. The entry for 10th June 1986 reads "Iain and Mike finished the canes and rabbit nets today. The planting has taken 2 days short of 2 months, occupying every daylight moment that could be spared from children and work and with lots of help from friends. The vine shoots are 2-3 inches long and the mayweed that sprang up from the bare earth is up to the childrens' waists. We're exhausted". And that was before putting the trellis in.


Our first harvest, pictured below, on 5th November 1988 was a casual affair. That was when we started the tradition of harvest lunches for our friends, family and neighbours who helped us pick the grapes. Back then we sat in the barn on bales and it was bread and cheese. Now it's a 4 course reward for our harvesters and our own last year's wine.

The first harvest at Oatley Vineyard
The original Oatley wine label, 1990 Kerner and Kernling
Harvest lunch

Oatley Today

As well as hand tending the old vines, Ned and Paula have planted more vines:

Pinot Noir: to make red in hot years and rosé in cooler years. 

Cabernet Noir: a modern low intervention variety which makes a fruity red.

Wines from these vines will start to flow in 2025 (hopefully!)

bottom of page