It was not only vineyard managers and winemakers who heralded 2018 as an exceptional year. Since establishing the specialist viticultural machinery dealership, Vitifruit Equipment, in 2010, owners David Sayell and Richard Witt have just witnessed their best year yet.

While the increasing number of vineyards being planted and the growing number of viticulturalists operating in the UK has helped to drive this success, David believes that new customers only account for half of 2018’s sales. A significant proportion of machinery has also been making its way to established growers who are keen to replace existing equipment to keep up to date with the latest technology and who are determined to find ways to reduce labour costs in the vineyard.

Anyone who has visited a viticultural machinery show in the past will be able to appreciate the vast array of manufacturers operating in the sector internationally and the sheer number of equipment options and models on offer.

To help English and Welsh growers access a catalogue of specialist vineyard equipment which is not only reliable and easy to use but, most importantly, relevant to the UK’s conditions, David, who also has practical experience of managing vineyards and a comprehensive understanding of how machinery works, has invested greatly in extensive research, visiting manufacturers and attending trade shows. 

“Over the years I have been pretty shrewd in selecting quality equipment which wouldn’t produce problems with break downs and which would be right for the UK market,” said David Sayell. “There is so much choice out there it can be overwhelming for both new and existing growers. When it comes to making sure that customers have the right machines for their vineyard I think about what I would do if I was in their shoes. We can look at the situation on the ground and discuss realistic budgets before homing in on a manufacturer or model which will suit their needs.” 

To read the full article visit the March online issue.