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24/02/2022 // Dan Turner, Vineyard Manager

A Decade at Saffron Grange

Our Vineyard Manager Dan reflects on a decade at Saffron Grange 

Dan Turner was one of Saffron Grange’s first hires. Ten years ago, he joined us fresh from school at just 18 years old to help with winter pruning and we never let him leave! 

From day one, Dan has been an integral part of the Saffron Grange team. His studies in oenology and viticulture has brought a wealth of experience to our team, and his passion for creating an ethical and sustainable vineyard has given us focus and drive to regenerate the land for a sustainable future and ultimately create a carbon negative vineyard.

As well as responsibility for day-to-day management of the vineyard, Dan rolls up his sleeves and gets stuck in with everything from building projects to hosting our vineyard tours, sharing his enthusiasm and knowledge with our visitors. In this interview, we find out a little more about his experience working here. 

How did you start out at Saffron Grange? 

I first came across Saffron Grange vineyard after an initial stint Winter pruning aged 18 and I couldn’t quite believe that Paul was growing vines and planning to make sparkling wine just outside my hometown! From just a short conversation, I was completely drawn in and have been engrossed in a life in viticulture and wine ever since! My friends and family still can’t believe the quality of the produce here and the fact that we are picking up awards for our wines. 

What’s been your best memory? 

One of the best memories has to be tasting our first vintage release – it was the culmination of many years of hard work and proof we were onto a winner! The 2018 Blanc de Noirs tasting was also very special as it has become my favourite of all of the Saffron Grange sparkling wines so far. Another special moment was pressing our first crop of Pinot Gris in our brand new press. We are all very excited to expand our on-site production facilities in the future, so that was an exciting taste of what is to come. 

What have been some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced in the last decade?  

As a vineyard manager, the biggest challenge is always the frost – and in the past 10 years we’ve had our fair share of challenging conditions that unfortunately have occasionally damaged the vines and limited our growth. It is always particularly upsetting to get a frost when it’s looking like a particularly promising season but it’s the nature of the beast and at Saffron Grange we have made a commitment to never release a wine we don’t think is good enough. In recent years we have invested in the latest technology, such as our tow and blow machine, and planted more protective tree canopies and together these help mitigate the worst effects of the frosts which is really helping better frost-proof our vines for the future. 

What do you love most about working at Saffron Grange?  

I love being out in the vineyard on a cold, frosty, blue-sky morning and listening to the birds singing even while on frost watch. The stillness and silence of the vineyard at this time is really special. When we are on frost-watch it is really clear and starry and we don’t get much light pollution here so it is pretty breath-taking.  

I also love hosting tours and having the opportunity to share our passion for what we are doing here. I’m proud of what we have achieved over the years and very excited about what the future might bring!