Why we love our home county of Hampshire
Nestled in the North East corner of Hampshire, near the beginning of the beautiful North Downs Way, our twelve-acre site at Penn Croft is located amongst lush green fields, a short distance from the village of Crondall.
Hampshire welcomes both national and international wine lovers, with no shortage of vineyards and wineries to visit. It may seem like an unlikely destination to some, so we thought we’d highlight just why we love Hampshire, and how it’s so well suited for winemaking.
First and foremost, it’s the composition of the soil that has given Hampshire so much potential. Much of the county (and parts of Surrey too) are known for their chalky clay beds, and the keen geologists amongst you may already know that a chalk ridge runs through both counties, flanked by numerous clay hills.
This is important in winemaking because the soil can both retain and drain water very well, depending on rainfall, heat and humidity. Clay soil also tends to stay cooler when it’s really hot, which can be beneficial to vineyards as it stops the ground and vines from completely drying out.
This soil type exists elsewhere too, with many Spanish vineyards sitting on top of ground that is rich in clay and limestone. Typically, this mix is great for bold Sangiovese wines and Pinot Noir too.
Hampshire is cool
Literally, it’s cool. Our microclimate means that temperatures are a little lower than in the counties of Essex and East Anglia. This is in part due to a stabilising effect by the sea, and our southerly position. Despite this, we still have more sunshine hours than other counties, which certainly works in our favour.
Overall, Hampshire’s weather is good for a vineyard like ours and lends itself well to sparkling wine. This is because the cooler seasons help grapes to retain acidity, which is exactly what’s needed to produce the backbone of a sparkling wine’s structure.
Flora and fauna
In terms of wildlife, there is absolutely no shortage of creatures large and small in Hampshire. According to the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, the county has some of the most spectacular and internationally recognised habitats in the country, including red squirrels, brent geese, water voles, otters and more.
Whilst this has no direct benefits to our vineyard, we certainly pay close attention to how our work as a business affects wildlife in the area.
In the fields around us, there’s an abundance of biodiversity when it comes to flowers, trees and more, and in our immediate surroundings, we encourage cover crops – plants that cover and surround the vineyard to look after the soil.
There are several enjoyable routes in the area, perfect for weekend walks or a lunchtime stroll. We find it fascinating to see how the land changes throughout the year, which in itself is a great reason to keep on coming back. Why not check out ourwalking map and plan a visit, not only for a walk, but a tour too?
Hampshire, home of wine
So next time you’re talking about Hampshire, or trying to pin down somewhere to visit, remember that this humble home county is known for a lot more than Jane Austen, watercress, fly fishing and our many great pubs. Hampshire is home to Penn Croft, champions of great English wine.