Best Shed boasts best wine

Installing a wine rack in his shed will now be top of Glyn Harrison’s list of jobs to do at his Griffithstown allotment. Winning Best Shed category in the National Allotments Week’s (13th - 19th August) competitions, Glyn accepted bottles of Chilean sponsors Caliterra Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc wine as part of his prize.

With only one in ten people renting allotments from their local parish council, the National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners hopes their annual initiative will promote greater awareness of allotments and boost gardening back up from second place to first in the listings of UK popular hobbies (surfing the internet comes top).PG digging

Having a winery as sponsors of a gardening competition may seem an odd choice. But it makes absolute sense when you realise 94% of gardeners drink wine (compared to just 70% of UK adults as a whole) with the majority drinking wine at least twice a week.

Being a keen wine-drinking gardener and allotment holder myself, I thought it would be a good idea to check out the National Allotments Week’s sponsors understanding of allotments. Using the Add Comment feature on Caliterra’s Winemaker’s Blog I asked Head Winemaker Sergio Cuadra if the winery had the Chilean equivalent of an allotment. Apparently they do.

We have two allotments, or fruit and vegetable gardens. Our first is located at the farthest lands of the Caliterra Estate, next to the eastern hills. Don Daniel, our Chilean cowboy who is in charge of the horses which visitors to Caliterra can ride when exploring our vineyards, is in charge of this allotment.

Don Daniel has planted tomatoes, melons, watermelons and corn which we use at Caliterra to prepare traditional Chilean dishes and salads, and the delicious desserts for our guests to the Colchagua Valley. The meals are cooked using herbs such as rosemary, oregano and laurel which grow in our second allotment.

This second allotment is located right next to our guest home. This allotment is carefully looked after by Mónica, who is in charge of our Public Relations.

Sergio also has some advice for British allotmenters wishing to grow their own vines:

Try growing Chardonnay. It may not sound very original, but it is a flexible variety. And protect your vines against frosts, especially in early spring and just before and after harvest.

And if your vines and vegetables aren’t growing as they should he offers this advice:

Do you pray? Then pray. It helps.


Caliterra Merlot 2005, Colchagua Valley, Chile. £4.99

A deep red coloured wine that tastes like liquefied allotment fruits – blackcurrants, redcurrants, blackberries and cherries. Robust and warming, this wine would be just the thing to drink in your allotment shed on a frosty autumn day.

Caliterra Cabernet Sauvignon 2006, Colchagua Valley, Chile. £5.99

This blackberry and blackcurrant tasting wine needs to be matched with a flavourful meat pizza. Food will help soak up some of the 14.5% alcohol.

Caliterra Shiraz Rosé 2006, Colchagua Valley, Chile. £5.99

A cherry-red rosé that tastes like you’ve stirred some allotment-grown raspberries into plain yoghurt, then ground black pepper on the top. A bit weird.

Caliterra wines are available from smaller independent wine merchants (including Conwy Fine Wines, The Vintage House, Ellies Cellar, Kingsgate Wines and Vicki's Wine Merchant) and online at and the Northern Ireland retailer The Ava.