AN amateur wine maker is calling on other Londoners to help boost the country’s number of vineyards.

Paul Olding, aged 37, claims to run Lewisham’s only vineyard at his allotment at St Mary's Road, Lee, now in its third year.

He explained: “I wanted to grow my own grapes but the price of land is astronomical.

“This way I could prove to myself I could do it.”

Called Olding Manor, the allotment’s 50 hybrid vines, chosen for their resistance to rot, have produced three different wines so far.

Mr Olding says his Phoenix wine is similar to Sauvignon Blanc, while the Orion is comparable to a Pinot Grigio.

He describes his Regent red as “rich, smooth and plummy.”

Last year, he produced 20 bottles but the TV producer, of Pitfold Road, Lee, hopes to put out 100 by next January.

He explained: “English wine is fantastic. It’s just building up really - there were three million bottles produced last year.

“Over the years it was pretty foul but now it’s much nicer now people are growing the right kind of grapes.”

Mr Olding went took a one week intensive course on wine-making and claims almost anyone can do it.

“It’s not brain surgery - you can grow your own grapes pretty easily. You’ve just got to use the right vines and grow them with intelligence.

“A lot of my allotment peers said it wouldn’t work. Now, out of 17 plots, at least 10 have got vines on them.”

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