Monthly Archives: February 2013

Vintage fair at Plumpton Racecourse 31st May – 1st June

Village Vintage – the award-winning vintage and country fair business created and inspired by Sussex duo Lucy Haywood and Darcy Shepherd – is gearing-up for its biggest ever event. Plumpton Racecourse is to be the venue for this two-day summer fair which is being staged on 31st May and 1st June.

Four years ago Village Vintage started out at Lindfield’s King Edward Hall with 25 stallholders and around 300 visitors. The 2013 event will host over 100 enthusiastic exhibitors selling a unique range of pretty decorative homeware, gardenalia and vintage ephemera with over 2000 visitors and guests expected over the weekend.

“We have a strong base of loyal followers that we have built up over the last few years” says Darcy, “they know when they come to a Village Vintage country fair they are in for a treat including, decorative antiques, vintage textiles and linens, old painted furniture, kitchenalia and handmade artisan products.”

The event is also noted for its friendly atmosphere, its artful vintage styling and real country character. And there’s always plenty of delicious and nourishing food and drinks for adults and kids alike. One of the most popular destinations at Village Vintage has always been the great-value tearooms serving exquisite cakes and savoury dishes. This year there will also be a Prosecco bar where shoppers can enjoy a well-earned glass of bubbly to help relax and wind down – but despite the proximity of the racecourse, no horse burgers, that’s a promise!

The success of the Village Vintage experience has now been hailed well beyond its humble beginnings with recognition and acknowledgement by the UK’s foremost vintage-lifestyle magazine, Homes & Antiques. In a recent nation-wide survey conducted by the magazine, Village Vintage was placed in Britain’s the top-three antiques, vintage and handicraft fairs. Needless to say ‘the girls’ are absolutely delighted to have been spotlighted by such a respected and influential organisation.

Writing in the March2013 issue vintage scene commentator Alice Roberton, described Village Vintage as one of the highlights of the year saying, “This gorgeous annual country fair offered up a wonderful mix of French linens, painted furniture, clothing and gardenalia.”

As the Plumpton Racecourse event expands in scope and range it’s clear that the event is beginning to take on the aspect of a mini-village itself as the number of marquees, gazebos, tents, stands and stalls continues to grow. For sure it is going to be a colourful show in keeping with the Village Vintage tradition and as such is bound to attract a wide cross-section of vintage life-style devotees.

The market for all things vintage has been growing in Britain for at least 20-years; the phenomenon is said to date from the 1990s revival of the Rockabilly craze which saw a resurgent interest in 1950s design and fashion. With roots in the USA and an emphasis on bold, vivid and elegant design values the phenomenon quickly caught-on in the UK establishing its twin-Meccas in London and Brighton.

Now with Village Vintage’s home firmly establish pretty much equidistant from these thriving and innovative centres of the vintage movement, Darcy & Lucy feel confident they can draw inspiration from both and continue to improve and expand their business.


20th Feb 2013Image


Hécula 2009 Famillia Castraño

If the average wine drinker knows anything about the red wines of Spain they will know and recognise Rioja, Ribera del Duero and Priorat. It is possible they may also know that wines from Yecla and Jumilla are to be avoided – after all they are the kind of ‘bulk’ wines that end up on the ‘3 for £10’ shelf in your supermarkets, right?

Well, no actually! That’s not been the case for some time and, insofar as we continue to believe this we have all been seriously misinformed.

We had a lazy night-in last night – having enjoyed a convivial lunch at The Sloop Inn there was no need for cooking. So we settled in front of the telly for some cheese, hummus, chorizo, olives, and pizza from Paolino’s in the village.

Choosing the wine would be simple – something red from the left-hand-side of the wine rack, i.e. the everyday drinking side. It was looking a bit sparse on account of a fresh delivery being due today, which made the job even easier.

My eye was caught by a metallic blue neck foil/capsule; when I pulled it out the first thing that struck me was the weight of the bottle – usually an indication of a quality product.

But this was a £9.95 bottle of Hécula 2009 produced by Famillia Castraño, based in Yecla, made from the Monastrell variety of grapes and grown in Jumilla. I had bought it a couple of months previously from South Downs Cellars in Lindfield.

I was immediately intrigued since Irene and I had spent New Year there enjoying some winter sun with our Swedish friends Mona and Olev.

The holiday had included a special trip to the high mountain vineyards of Jumilla, near Murcia, to see for myself the massive advances that have been made in winegrowing – especially with the Monastrell variety – in this hot climate, and still undervalued, region of Spain. Believe me we were not disappointed – especially after enjoying a fabulous (and very affordable) lunch, including local wines, in a popular Jumilla restaurant afterwards.

However, I digress – what I want to tell you about is the Hécula 2009.

According to controversial wine critic Jay Miller (quoted by South Downs Cellars), the wine is aged in French and American oak, is outstanding value and will be perfect for drinking over the next 4-5 years.

What’s more it tastes great with rich blackberry and bramble fruit flavours on the palate – spiced-up with ginger and wild herbs on the nose. This is a real winner and at under a tenner an absolute bargain.

It’s true that Monastrell grapes are still grown in vast quantities in Spain, using the bushvine method, i.e. no trellising, neither of which are usually happy omens. But bear in mind that, as Mourvèdre, which is the grape’s French name, it has been making top-quality wines in Southern Rhone, Languedoc and Bandol for 50 years, so it’s pedigree is sound.

This is a grape that loves the sun and one that, for all its sensitivities, the winegrowers of Jumilla have amply demonstrated can not only be tamed, but is capable of being crafted in to a true star of southeast Spain. I give it 17 out of 20.


13th February 2013

Hecula 2009

CVE Launches

Cuckfield gCVE 8th March '13 artwork finalets Vintage Emporium

The pretty Sussex village of Cuckfield is to get its own permanent vintage fair following Darcy Shepherd’s decision to set-up Cuckfield Vintage Emporium.

Darcy plans to run her Emporium each month from its new home at the Queen’s Hall in Cuckfield High St. The first event is scheduled for 8th March and promises to offer a dazzling array of vintage treasures.

Darcy has more than 4-years’ experience in organising vintage events – including recently at Plumpton racecourse and last July with a huge fair at Cuckfield’s recreational ground. The popularity and quality of these and other events is now being increasingly recognised – not just in Sussex but nationally too. Take a look at the March 2013 edition of Homes & Antiques where Darcy and her business partner Lucy Haywood have just been named amongst the UK’s top 3 vintage fair organisers.

We asked Darcy what visitors to the Cuckfield Vintage Emporium could expect, this is what she told us, “This event is aimed at lovers of the vintage life-style – as well as those who appreciate pretty vintage finds and modern country style value. I know there will be an abundance of vintage delights just waiting to be discovered. Anyone looking to create a stunning new look for their home, garden or wardrobe will not be disappointed!”

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