Sark vineyards protest could see clameur being raised

A PROTEST is planned today in Sark against further expansion of vineyards in the island and the subsequent loss of grazing.

A PROTEST is planned today in Sark against further expansion of vineyards in the island and the subsequent loss of grazing.

But Sark Estate Management, which is behind the developments, has insisted it is working closely with the half a dozen or so islanders whose animals graze on its land for a nominal fee and continues to provide them with substantial acreage.

SEM managing director Kevin Delaney, writing in the latest issue of the Sark Newsletter, also hit back at an anti-vineyard press release sent out by Rosanne Guille Byrne under the banner of the Agriculture and Environment Committee.

Newsletter editor Mr Delaney, pictured, said the press release had been issued even though the full committee had not met to discuss it.

Mr Delaney said that that 30 full-time jobs depended on the new industry and he had not been approached with any concerns about land management by any committee on Sark.

  • The full press release appears as a comment on this page.

Comments for: "Sark vineyards protest could see clameur being raised"


Being a regular visitor to Sark and having friends there I haven`t seen much change in the space available for grazing of the horses or sheep. As long as I can remember I have wondered why the fields have never been used for growing local veg, flowers and cereals. There are huge amounts of fields that have, at most, three horses grazing in them, hardly the best use of valuable land.

Obviously if there is money in vineyards then it`s common sense that is where the fields should be used and left fallow.

I just hope that the distribution of the proposed income from these vineyards is spread throughout the island.

I also hope that those opposed to this scheme are not just the ones who didn't have the fields to sell or rent to the wine Industry and, excuse the pun, are not just sour grapes.


That is one of the best comments I've seen for a long time on this site or any other. You make a lot of sense.


Do I detect "planted" comments and praise?

Sark is (was?) admired and respected as a tourist destination by reason of its unspoiled rural diversity - not as a (failing) factory farm for dubious wine production.

I wonder if any of these grapes have been genetically modified to glow in the dark, and thus ruin our Dark Skies status?

It's getting increasingly difficult to put any act of spite beyond the SEM.


The key phrase here is "if there is money in vineyards".

On the evidence thus far, probably only if you are the lucky chaps flogging vines to the fantasy viticulturists of Brecqhou and the SEM.

KD & Co need to keep in mind that there are no EU subsidies available on Sark for farming disasters as there are across the EU.

Or maybe they are building up a huge loss in anticipation of Sark introducing a tax - and a further excuse for sacking more staff?


Good for the protesters.

Keep Sark beautiful. I don't want to see vine field after vine field when I visit.

The reason the above poster may not have seen the changes is there are only just beginning to be made.


Good luck to the protesters, I wish I could be there to support them.

I visited Sark this summer and was shocked at how such a small island has been changed since the last time I was in the Channel Islands. The vineyards will change the natural environment. Fields that are left fallow are left so for a reason. You cannot graze animals on the same land all the time unless you have vast acreage or a lot of money to grow special grass seeds and rotate harvesting for hay/crops and grazing. I didn't meet anyone during my visit who agreed with the vineyards or the changes to the island. Sark is a small island so 'substantial acreage' will be available is unlikely if the vineyards are allowed to expand.


I have no attachment to either side in this, another of Sark's increasingly acrimonious disputes, but who sold the land to S.E.M., what was the land before the vineyards and how was the change of use , if any, allowed to happen ? Were all these fields sold by one person to S.E.M.?

I only ask to help me to try and decide whether this is a genuine protest by people interested in the well being of their Island or a desire to futher the aggravation between the two parties.

One last question - has anyone in Sark got any idea of how to end this situation and I mean a sensible idea with some prospect of success ?


In a proper "democracy", not the shambles that was forced on the island by the threat of endless costly litigation and the retribution of Jack Straw - vexatious or otherwise - the situation would be dealt with by the democratically elected governing authority.

I suggest everyone looks up the story of the frog in the pan, and draw parallels. Sark is just coming to the boil.

This latest example of SEM defiance seems like a test of Colin Kniveton's resolve and ability to deal with bullying, intimidation and harassment and insist that good government prevails .

I bet he's wondering what he has let himself in for.


Our chief pleas had the opportunity to bring in true democracy. What we have been left with is the Chief Pleas compromise and was reluctantly accepted by Jack Straw and not forced upon anyone but the Sark electorate by our own local representatives.

Whilst I do not agree with much of what KD says and does I am getting seriously fed up with establishment lackeys simply repeating garbage in an effort to make it truth.


At least the `peasants` are allowed to graze at a cheap rate. How kind of their fuedal overlords. Whoops! No fuedalism anymore, sorry for my crass error.


Mac, I understand that the 8-10 tenement lands etc were acquired slowly over quite a long time, and Sark was not aware for quite some time of what was going on and why.

As to how to end this situation - this is not a "neighbours at war" situation, where objective discussion and compromise will resolve things. This is a hostile take over bid to acquire a tax haven. The only alternative to resistance is total hand over of control.


It is obvious to me that some of the above comments have no idea of animal husbandry, or of the quantity and type of chemicals used in the growing of vines.

Sarks supply of water fit for human consumption is greatly at risk, should the chemicals and fungicides used on vines leach into their water supply. If I lived on the Island I also would have grave concerns.

By the way GP, Mr. Delaneys picture that you use constantly heading these articles is rather past its' use by, don't you think!


.....and a lot of people find his image offensive and I am not trying to be funny

Intrested party..

Does anyone know the exacy number of vines already planted and how many more are due to go in,, because I think someone said it was close to 200.000 ,,if that is the case then maybe people will see just how much of Sark that quantity of vines will take up on such a small island and just how much pesticide will need to be used on the land to keep them mildew free?,,,which will find its way straight into the water table...That is very scary to think about tons and tons of the stuff and if the weather continues wet like this year for the coming summer, then surely even more will be needed to tackle the mildew.

If the numbers I,ve heard are considerably lower, say 10,000 in total then maybe it,s a storm in a teacup. If the number are correct then the residences are quiet right to be very concerned..


100000 at the moment with 150000 to go in within the next month so now you know why we are VERY concerned


The output of the vineyards to date can scarcely be regarded as any sort of vindication or endorsement of the suitability of the idea.

So this is pure defiance, and it is very worrying. Just imagine if there was a mistake in mixing the spray chemicals and either the proportions were got wrong - or a full-on herbicide like paraquat was substituted by mistake.

Also consider the possibility of breeding strains of disease and bugs that are resistant due to the concentrated "monoculture" effect.

The SEM is in effect now running a FrankenFarm experiment, and thumbing its nose at all efforts to get them to slow down and properly investigate the consequences - never mind any of the more sensitive and subjective issues.

The Island of Sark is being "gRaped".

Intrested party..

So 250.00 vines to be planted in total,,, if you say that each plant is spaced 18inches apart that is a massive amount of land down to vines,, and they as of yet they don,t know if they will even succeed... sorry seems very strange to invest so much on an untested crop.


I visited Sark for the first time in years this summer and I must say Sark has never looked better ..The town looks neat and tidy, the restaurants and Hotels looked great too... Sark has never looked better.

And I was amazed at the vine yards and thought it an idea worth trying.... they can always be dug up if it doesn’t work.

Sark was and still is a beautiful place, but there seems to be a lot of people moaning about it these days.... Wise I could live there ...and I Promise not to moan about a thing.


@Choked. Have you seen a single grape on any vineyard in Sark? Vineyards are productive in the right regions and Sark is not one of them. Perhaps the Barclay brothers could now try to produce wine in Tory Island.


I am trying to understand when a protest happens in Sark if whether it is sarkies or imported English with the gripes. Years ago sark was friendly to all then English rented shops and like the pottery that told my children not to touch anything when you entered their shop.

Sorry I went off the subject for a moment ,I live in guernsey

(third generation )but spend a lot of my summer in the Loire valley where the vines are kept in perfect condition,

Give them chance to mature and you will be amazed how well they look and who knows Sark may become famous for wine and not some where that people with money can retire without tax.

I do know sark families from years back owners and tenants so I can sympathise with True sarkies.