It takes a long time and a whole lot of hard work to establish and cultivate a productive vineyard. We’re still in the early years in the story of our main vineyard at Penn Croft Farm, building on the incredible conservation and sustainability work of Simon Porter. The 2021 harvest was modest but encouraging; with our ongoing care and attention, we’re looking forward to building that year on year. Our vision for the Penn Croft vineyard is unique in the UK – so it’s a deeply rewarding journey to be on.
While we’re still in this development phase, we’ve carefully chosen some select vineyards to partner with so we can source enough hand-picked fruit to produce our key wines. The Pinot Blanc, for example, has come from a superb location in Essex that shares our ethos and commitment to quality English wine. As time goes on, we’ll be able to reduce our need to bring in fruit from other vineyards – but ultimately the plan is for Penn Croft to be used exclusively to create our highest tier single vineyard range.
We use a small batch winemaking method. It’s a low-intervention, hands-off approach that first and foremost respects the wine. Our aim is to keep the wine honest and full of the unique details that bring complexity and flavour, by using methods like ageing it on its lees (the sediment) and minimising fining (changing or adding things to the wine). We divide the wines into sub-lots in barrels or tanks and treat them all differently according to their needs – using different yeasts, or varying the time spent fermenting in the barrel for example – so they come together perfectly to create the end product.
Our barrels are worth a mention. We sourced very specific, high-quality barrels from Burgundy in France, where they’d been used exclusively for white wine for three years. The barrels at this stage are considered neutral in terms of flavour impact but help us build texture and complexity in the final blends. We love the sustainability of this approach too – we’re reusing barrels that have already had a previous life in winemaking.