As Kirkland prepares to host its inaugural vineyard open day on Tuesday 21 August, Vineyard takes a look at what will be on show.

Land Rover versus Volvo, Heinz versus supermarket own brand, Ralph Lauren versus George, it doesn’t matter which sector you look at there will always be the option to pay through the nose for a certain brand or logo.

Going for the cheaper option, however, doesn’t always mean compromising on quality or performance and as long as your item does the job it was designed for, is it really necessary to pay double the price? A Volvo will still get you from a to b, Tesco’s beans will still leave you nourished and a George jumper will still keep you warm.

Striving to provide affordable machinery options for the UK’s viticulture industry, Kirkland import specialist equipment from a range of manufactures who provide quality machines without a hefty price tag for the brand.

“People often assume vineyards have a lot of money, but expensive machinery isn’t always the best option,” said Scott Worsley, managing director of Kirkland. “Paying more for a brand doesn’t mean it will do the job any better. A lot of vineyards in the UK are still quite small and don’t need to invest hefty sums into machines that are designed to work on a vast scale. We supply what vineyards need, not what sounds good, because not everyone wants complicated equipment or needs the latest gadgets.”

To demonstrate that not all specialist vineyard machinery needs to be extortionately priced to complete the task in hand, Kirkland will be hosting its first vineyard demonstration open day at Simpsons Wine Estate in Barham, near Canterbury, Kent.

“Whether you are fully established and looking for economical equipment or if you are just starting up and need the basics to get going we have the ability to cater to all,” said Scott. “Throughout the year we visit individual vineyards to demonstrate machines, but inevitably you can’t take the whole range of products, so the open day is a great way for growers to see everything in one place.” 

From 11am till 4pm, visitors to the open day will not only be able to watch the machines in action, but unlike attending a trade show, there will be the chance to test drive the tractors and telehandlers and try out the huge range of tractor mounted implements, from cultivators and mowers, to sprayers and vine trimmers.

“Our machinery demonstration days have always been very popular with top and soft fruit growers,” said Scott. “We wanted to give vineyard owners and managers the same opportunity to look beyond the brochures and get up close and personal with the machines on offer.”

As technology progresses, the choice of equipment and the different specifications can be overwhelming, especially for those who are new to the industry or haven’t got a technical background. The open day has been designed to provide growers with the chance to work out what it is they actually need.

Scott said: “There is so much to choose from nowadays it can be confusing, so the beauty of the open day is that growers will be able see the results from the various implements, can try them out for themselves and can decide what is going to be the right tool for them.”

Origins of Orvin

Before 2012, Kirkland was originally a brand name under the Worsley’s family business Agricare, a horticultural supplies firm which is managed by Scott’s brothers, who will also be exhibiting at the open day.

Having offered support to fruit growers across the South East of England for 23 years, Agricare started to import BAB manufactured products in 2005 which they decided to badge up as ‘Kirkland’ to offer something authentic and original. With the growing success of the specialist machinery branch, it was decided in 2011 that Kirkland should become an established company in its own right.

Under the management of Scott, Kirkland continues to import BAB manufactured products for the region’s fruit growers and has quickly built a reputation for premium quality machinery and exemplary customer service with its ability to tweak and adjust ‘off the shelf’ machines and implements to perfectly suit growers’ needs.

“We will quite often make tailored adjustments to the machine to ensure that we are meeting our customer’s exact requirements,” said Scott. “Not everyone has the ability to do that and that, along with our friendly, young and proactive team, is what sets us apart.”

With the Kirkland brand machinery from BAB being fairly high end, Scott realised that they were not effectively catering for smaller growers who didn’t have the budgets or requirements for luxurious pieces of equipment and thus the Orvin range was born.

“Orvin, an amalgamation of the words orchard and vineyard, was designed to be a range of good quality, but more affordable products,” said Scott. “Kirkland machinery has always been classed as expensive and we realised that there are growers who will look for cheaper machines either because they don’t need to use them as much, or because they prefer to buy cheap and upgrade often.”

With more flexibility under the Orvin brand, Scott has been able to mix and match a number of manufactures to provide a diverse array of economical equipment which doesn’t compromise on quality.

Read the full article here, on page 44.