English Wine Week 2022

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By Debbie Buckley, Retail Manager

English Wine Week is a national campaign that aims to raise awareness of English Wine. The Vineyards, and the Wineries are the focus during this week. It’s not an easy task producing great wine in the English climate. However, England is lucky to have loads of talented growers and winemakers, that work hard to provide us with their wines.

We will be holding an event on the 24th June 2022 to showcase some of the amazing producers that we work with. We will be joined by 7 producers (Balfour, Bolney, Exton Park, Folc, Nyetimber, Gusbourne and Simpsons). The event is free and a great opportunity to get to know the producers and to try their spectacular wines before you buy.

At Noble Green Wines we showcase wines from 13 producers, all of which we think are great and want to share with you. All of these producers are unique in how they make wine, so each producer deserves the spotlight to share with you what they do. The producers we work with are:

Heppington
Kinsbrook
Folc
Balfour
Artelium
Renegade
Simpsons
Gusbourne
Exton Park
Nyetimber
Bolney
Hambledon
Albury

London

Renegade Urban Winery

It all started for Renegade in the railway arches under Bethnal Green Station in 2016. They are one of the very few producers making wine within the city of London. Since then, they have grown, and increased production so needed a bigger space. I was lucky in March to go and visit their new winery near Tottenham. This is where the majority of their wines are made, bottled, labelled and stored. The tour included a tasting of their wines straight from the tanks.

Renegade’s approach to making wine could be seen as slightly different to other producers in the UK. They understand that growing grapes is heavily dependent on nice weather. But by them buying their grapes from selective growers, they can always ensure they are working with the best quality grapes. Although all their wines are made in London, so technically making them all wines produced in England. Renegade buys 50% of their grapes from UK growers and the other 50% from European countries, like France, Spain, Germany, Italy, and Portugal.

We currently stock 2 of Renegade’s wines, these being an English Chardonnay and an English skin contact Bacchus. Both very interesting wines and my personal favourites of their range. So, if you’re looking for something a bit different from the classic English white wine style, give these two a try.

Kent

Balfour Estate

Previously known as Hush Heath Estate, lies in the heart of the Kent countryside, just east of Tunbridge Wells. They have 200-acre vineyards, half of which are planted on the same site as the winery. When I visited the estate back in March of this year the vineyards were maintained immaculately. I was taken on a walk around the estate, where we looked at the vineyards, the apple orchards, wildflower meadows and an ancient woodland. They also have large contemporary buildings on site, that house the large winery, storage buildings and tasting room. They not only have a large, decked area, which will be beautiful to visit in the summer, but also a two-story wine tasting room that also offers snacks.
We currently stock 5 of Balfour’s wines, these include 2 Chardonnays, 1 Pinot Noir, 1 Sparling Rose and Pink Fizz can. These are still very new to the English wine scene but offer an easy convenient way of enjoying the light refreshing fizzy rose anywhere, including the park.

Heppington Vineyard

Heppington vineyard was planted in 2016 and covers 6.25 hectares of farmland on the edge of the Kent Downs overlooking Canterbury Cathedral. The soil under the vineyard is chalk, limestone, and clay, which is identical to the champagne region in France. They have the three classic champagne grape varieties planted, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Meunier, as well as Pinot Gris which contributes to 10% of the vineyard.
We currently stock 1 of their wines, the Pinot Noir Rose 2020, which is one of my favourite roses that we currently stock. They also produce 2 still white and a still red, which I look forward to trying out once they release the next vintage. And they have just recently released their first range of sparkling wines.

Simpsons Wine Estate

Simpsons wine estate was first established in 2014 in Elham Valley on the North Downs. The first 10 hectares of vineyard was planted in 2014, this vineyard is known as their Roman Road Vineyard. The next vineyard, Railway Hill Vineyard was planted 2016 and 2017 covering an area of 20 hectares. Like many other producers in England, they have the three classic champagne varieties planted, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Meunier. They have an onsite winery and tasting room, that includes a twisted slide down two floors to the winery. I visited them in March and got to see the vineyards and winery, it was a busy time as they were in the middle of bottling when I visited.
We currently stock 3 of their wines, 1 still white made from Pinot Meunier, 1 still rose and 1 sparkling rose. We did previously stock their rabbit hole Pinot Noir, but because of its popularity, we have now run out. And due to Simpsons only making it on good years, it might be a year before we get our hands on anymore.

Gusbourne

Gusbourne planted their first vines in 2004 near Appledore, Kent, covering 60 hectares. They planted Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, from which they produce their sparkling and still wines. Next a further 30 hectares of vineyard was planted in West Sussex near the Goodwood Estate. Once the grapes have been harvested, they are taken to their winery, where lots of care and attention is given to them to ensure only the best wine is produced. They use a combination of the latest winery technology and older proven methods to produce some of the best sparkling wines in the UK.
We currently stock 3 of their wines, all sparkling. We have their Brut, Rose and Blanc de Blancs. They do also produce still wines, but because of the inconsistency of the British climate, these aren’t produced every year. They make a point to only make still wines when the grapes are outstanding, this is why their wines are so great.

Sussex

Kinsbrook Vineyard

Kinsbrook is small scale vineyard in the heart of West Sussex at the foot of the South Downs. The vineyard has been planted on farmland that has been in the family for three generations. The main focus of Kinsbrook is to create an inclusive, sustainable lifestyle culture. They have worked hard over the past couple of years to build the name of Kinsbrook and to create an environment that enables people to enjoy good English wine. Now that their onsite vineyards are maturing nicely and producing consistent harvests, they have shifted their focus to finishing off a new building that will become a restaurant and shop.
We currently stock 4 of their wines, 3 still wines and 1 sparkling rose. Their Bacchus and Pinot Gris have proven to be very popular for the few months since we took them on. Their focus on working with family is mirrored in Noble Green Wines, so we are very excited to be working with them.

Folc

Folc Rose was founded in 2019 by a young ambition couple that just had a big passion for rose wine. For a relatively young producer, the wine they produce has taken the English Rose market by storm. They have won plenty of awards in the short few years they have been running for. Like some other producers, Folc are purely on the wine production side of things. They leave the grape growing to the experts and after buy the grapes to produce the wine they want. They work with vineyards in Kent, Sussex and Essex, the grapes travel to Canterbury where the wine is made. I recently attending their launch party for the release of their 2021 vintage. It was clear to see by the support of other people in the industry, that Folc are trending their own path with their great quality English rose, and they are only going to get better.
We currently stock their one and only wine, the English Rose. Very delicate and similar in style to some very popular French style roses. If you haven’t tried it already, you’re missing out.

Artelium

Artelium wine estate is based in East Sussex, just above the South Downs. They are a wine producer that also shares a passion for art, whether that be the wine or the art that decorates the bottles. When they first started out producing wines, they bought their grapes from growers along the south coast. Since then, they have planted their own vineyards, some on site on their estate near Ditchling and another near Madehurst. In total, they have 105,000 vines planted in Sussex. They work with two different wine makers to produce their wines. One focuses on the sparkling wines and the other on the still wines. They also work very closely with artists that design the labels that decorate their range of wines that changes each year, the Artefact wines.
We currently stock 4 of their wines, 2 sparkling wines and 2 still wines. Not only do the bottles and label designs look great but the wine inside is outstanding. They are perfect for any occasion, whether and celebration or a hot summers day.

Nyetimber

Nyetimber Estate is a wine producer that we have worked with for quite some time now. And they are probably one of the bigger named producers that people outside of the wine industry would recognise. The oldest parts of the vineyards were planted back in 1988, with the three champagne varieties, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier being planted. Nyetimber have many sites that they have planted vineyards on, these spread across Sussex, Hampshire, and Kent.
Although, their many sites and estate in located in West Sussex. They have their winery on the same site that the main estate lies on.
We currently stock 3 Nyetimber wines, these being all sparkling, two whites and one rose. They recently released a limited-edition platinum jubilee designed bottle of their Classic Cuvee. We still have 3 bottles remaining of it.

Bolney Estate

Bolney have a very straight forward philosophy, they want to produce award-winning premium red, white, rose and sparkling English wines. And up to this point they have exceeded that focus. They have a large team both in the vineyard and winery that work all year round to achieve this goal. The estate at Bolney first started back in 1972, when the first set of vines went into the ground. The estate is large in size, they have the vineyard, winery, café, shop and viewing balcony, where you can taste wine. Bolney is very much a family run business, the owner’s daughter, Sam Linter, is the current winemaker and makes all the decisions when it comes to their wines.
We currently stock 6 of their wines, these ranging from still whites all the way to a sparkling red wine. They not only produce wine but also a Gin and English Vermouth. Recently their Cuvee Noir was on our Flights of Fancy Menu. It was very popular and surprised lot of people that sparkling red wines were being produced in England.

Surrey

Albury Organic Vineyard

Albury vineyard is probably one of the most well-known organic vineyards in England. They are situated on the southern slopes of the North Downs, just outside Guildford. They are the closest vineyard that we have to the shop that we work with. The vineyards were first planted in 2009, when the owner wanted to change industries and fulfil his passion for wine. Nick is a strong believer that the key to success for his wines are in the commitment they have made to being organic and biodynamic. They have the classic three champagne varieties planted, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, as well as some Seyval and Pinot Gris too.
We currently only stock one of their wines, but don’t be fooled, we think this wine is incredible and defiantly worth a try. They do also producer vintaged still rose, but due to non-favourable weather conditions last year, they were only able to produce a small quantity. Which they sell by themselves through their own cellar door.

Hampshire

Exton Park Vineyard

Exton Park is a vineyard close to my heart personally. Before I joined Noble Green Wines, I worked for almost 4 years in their vineyard. I did this whilst studying for my degree, so I learnt a lot from them when it comes to running a vineyard. They are 60-acre single vineyard site, located in the gorgeous South Downs, just to the east of Winchester in the stunning Meon Valley. They have the three classic champagne varieties planted, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, dating back 20 years. The vineyard manager Fred Langdale does an amazing job at looking after the vines and always keeping the vineyards looking impeccable. The head winemaker Corinne Seely is he brains behind the beautiful wines that are produced. They have always focused on producing non-vintage wines, as they believe this is a true show of high-quality wines. Essentially you should be able to open any bottle and they all taste identical, so no climate variation from one year to the next is detectable. And I personally think this is executed successfully.
We currently stock 3 of their wines, the Brut, Rose and Blanc de Noir (which is my personal favourite of all the sparkling English wines we hold). Their recent rebranding has created a label and bottle that is modern and eye catching on the shelves.

Hambledon Vineyard

Hambledon is the oldest commercial English vineyard, dating back to 1952 when the first vines were planted. Their vineyards now cover over 200 acres, these being spread over numerous vineyard sites. They have the three classic champagne varieties planted, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. The main site is located in the beautiful Hampshire countryside village of Hambledon, in the South Downs. The on-site winery was first opened in 2011 ready for the autumn’s harvest. The winery is full of state-of-the-art winery equipment and is actually the only fully gravity fed winery in the UK, which allows them to make wines with as little intervention as possible.
We currently stock 3 of their wines, 2 sparkling whites and 1 sparkling rose. They are one of the bigger producers that people would likely know the name of or have visited. And their wines life up to their reputation in their quality.

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