A NEW partnership between sparkling wine Candover Brook and Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust (HIWWT) was cemented recently.

Candover Brook and Canapés evening celebrated the area’s famous chalk streams and the little-known white-clawed crayfish on Thursday September 7.

The event was attended by Debbie Tann, HIWWT chief executive, and Dr Ben Rushbrook, HIWWT principal ecologist, along with local landowners, HIWWT supporters, donors and those passionate about Hampshire’s rivers and chalk streams. 

Mark and Julian Sainsbury, founders of Candover Brook, were also in attendance. 

The white-clawed crayfish is the UK’s only native species, but due to a dramatic decline, it is now internationally endangered.

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In 2022, conservationists from the trust discovered a cluster of the rare crayfish at Winnall Moors Nature Reserve near Winchester. This was a remarkable discovery as it was believed the species had vanished from the area after a plague wiped out the local populations 30 years ago. 

Hampshire Chronicle: Candover Brook vineyard

To further boost the wild populations, last year the trust, working with Bristol Zoological Society, released 200 white-clawed crayfish into a safe section of the River Itchen’s upper reaches. 

Candover Valley Wines committed to donate 50p from every bottle sold via its website or within a 15-mile radius of its vineyard to support the project.

Ms Tann said: “The trust is absolutely delighted to be working in partnership with Candover Valley Wines who are generously supporting our work to conserve the endangered white-clawed crayfish, now found in just a few of our precious chalk streams. Partnerships like this are crucial to the work of the trust. 

“We have ambitious goals to put nature into recovery, creating more space for wildlife to thrive so it can recover from decades of decline. But we are a charity and have limited resources. So, we rely on the support of corporate partnerships, individuals, charitable trusts and the wider community to support this vital work. 

“I would like to thank the team at Candover Valley Wines who are not only helping to support the trust but are also making huge strides on their own estate to farm regeneratively and bring nature back.” 

Mark Sainsbury, Candover Brook co-founder, said: “For us, this is an exciting and important partnership as we care deeply about our place in this beautiful landscape.

"Our wine is named after the chalk stream running through the valley so the wonderful work HIWWT are doing to preserve this precious habitat and protect our emblem, the white-clawed crayfish, is incredibly important to us. We’re delighted to be playing our part in supporting them in their conservation efforts.”