As part of Heathcote Holdings, FGS Pilcher benefits from having a close working relationship with other companies within the group. In a recent vineyard creation project, ground preparation, soil analysis and more were required which alongside our sister company, FGS Organics, we are able to provide fully in house.
This collaboration led to 7.5 acres of grassland being transformed into a stunning vineyard in the heart of Kent in a timely and cost-efficient manner. Together, the Heathcote Holdings group is committed to providing you and your business with bespoke integrated solutions.
FGS Pilcher provided the complete package of civil work on the vineyard. Initial works included installation of a granite set car entrance into the site which was attached to our reprofiled trackways. Finishing stone was laid on trackways alongside bespoke metal edging along the edges of the trackways and car park area to keep the granite in place. Footpaths were also installed throughout the site.
A significant amount of work was undertaken in tandem with the site’s access solutions, focusing on the existing buildings. This included the concreting of new front building aprons, installation of drainage systems, addition of utility services to existing structures, implementation of a rainwater harvesting system, construction of a washdown bay, and the introduction of a composting bay.
FGS Pilcher also provided additional drainage throughout the vineyard with our Mastenbroek trenching machine. FGS Pilcher uses GPS site topographical surveys to design and complete the work and GPS maps are provided to the client on completion. We also provide water mains installation and repairs as well as rainwater and sewage pipework installation and our drain jetter is used to clean existing drains.
FGS Organics undertook a large range of works to prepare the land for vine planting. The process began with the deployment of machinery to mow and bale the grassland, ensuring the removal of all green waste from the site. To combat annual broad weeds and grasses, broadacre spraying was also conducted.
With the land cleared and weeds under control, the next phase involved ploughing using our six-furrow plough, followed by our subsoiler. Once soil sampling results were obtained, we tailored the soil’s P and K levels with the application of compound fertiliser. Prilled lime granules were also introduced to adjust the soil’s pH for optimal conditions.
To improve the soil structure, FGS Organics planted a cover crop mix consisting of radish, winter oats, rye, phacelia, and tillage radish. The implementation included the use of our operated cover crop drill and Cambridge rolls to ensure seed contact for robust growth and moisture conservation. Cultivation practices were also completed to introduce air into the rooting zone, particularly crucial after the wet spring experienced in 2023.
In the final stages of preparation, spading and power harrowing were carried out, resulting in the ideal groundwork for the upcoming planting phase.