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Meet the team Ben Smith, Head Winemaker

“Winemaking fulfills my creative side; a combination of science and craft that has endless possibilities.” Ben

For someone who was a dedicated beer drinker until his second year at uni, Ben has certainly made his mark on the world of wine in the time since. Inspired by the creativity and endless possibilities of making good wine, he’s embraced Penn Croft’s unique sustainable mission and is leading our absolute commitment to quality. “It can be very easy to sit back and follow the crowd, but we chose to challenge convention and follow our gut.” Ben

We’re delighted he’s part of our team.

Ben’s journey started at the highly respected Plumpton College, but it was through working at wineries all over the world that he honed his skills and developed his craft. He had the opportunity to work with Andrew Hedley at Framingham in New Zealand for a couple of harvests and it was this experience that led him to become a winemaker.

Ever modest, Ben acknowledges his numerous industry awards (including Gold Medals from the IWC and Wine GB) with a healthy dose of humility. But even he recognises the importance of achieving England’s first – and so far only – perfect 20/20 score for a wine: his 2018 Chardonnay. It was a great “coming of age” moment for English wine; a wider recognition of what so many of us had known – or at least put faith in – for years. That English wine has the potential to compete toe to toe with the best in the world.

Oh, in case you were wondering, Ben’s favourite wine is a Riesling. “I’m a Riesling freak – it is so versatile making anything from steely bone dry styles to some of the worlds great sweet wines.” Ben

And despite having tasted priceless library wines in the cellar of Roulot in Meursault, he assures us that a Mosel Kabinett Riesling in Magnum from JJ Prum would be the one wine he’d happily drink for the rest of his life.

Until he’s made his next perfect wine at Penn Croft, that is.