From its birth as a farm diversification project back in 2008, we have grown to become one of the leading wineries in the UK, based in rural Hampshire. The Robinson family made their initial steps in 2008 by planting our very first vineyard on some of their farmland but had no idea that it would lead to where we are now. We have a 500 tonne, eco-friendly winery that was purpose built under the guidance of our Head Winemaker and Director, Emma Rice . Emma took full advantage of Simon’s lack of industry knowledge (and at the time, large chequebook) to coax him into buying the best equipment throughout, so now we have one of the most advanced wineries in the world and Simon has a much smaller chequebook.
The only thing we take seriously is the winemaking, the rest, we try and have a little fun with, so expect the unexpected, embrace the unconventional, throw off the shackles of tradition and join us in some rather remarkable wines…..
People used to laugh at English wine, they don’t seem to be laughing any more….
Hattingley has always sourced fruit from a wide range of England’s regions rather than just relying on our own vineyards in Hampshire. Although England is a small country, there is a multitude of soil types and microclimates which make all the difference in a cool, marginal climate. Frost can be a major problem so being able to spread the risk across a variety of areas is very useful.
Over the past few years, we have worked with a number of established farmers who either had vineyards already or who wished to diversify from other types of farming. Emma has travelled countless miles to find the best growers with the ideal conditions to establish vineyards. Growing grapes successfully is tremendously difficult in the UK so she only chooses those sites that have true potential. We enter into long term (usually ten years as a minimum) contracts to ensure that it is viable for all.
The old adage of ‘you can make bad wine from good grapes but it is impossible to make good wine from bad grapes’ remains true meaning we work very hard to ensure that we work with only the very best fruit possible.
We are now pleased to see these vineyards starting to bear fruit (quite literally) and we wanted to show you some of our partner growers.
Before joining Hattingley Valley in 2008, Head Winemaker Emma Rice (twice winner of the UK Winemaker of the Year award, in 2014 and 2016) had an impressive career in the wine trade. Emma’s passion for wine started, aged 19, with a taste of Krug 1979 from a double magnum, whilst working part-time at The White Horse Inn, Chilgrove. At the age of 29, having completed the WSET Diploma in 2003, Emma decided to study viticulture and oenology at Plumpton College.
After graduating in 2006, Emma travelled to Napa Valley in California for the harvest, where she stayed for nearly two years as oenologist and laboratory manager at Cuvaison Estate Wines. Following this she completed a cool climate vintage at Tamar Ridge in Tasmania, before moving back to the UK to set up a wine analysis laboratory and consultancy - through which she met Owner and Chairman of Hattingley Valley Wines, Simon Robinson, just as he had planted his vines.
Emma uses the traditional method for producing our sparkling wine, but what sets our wines apart from the rest is the subtle use of oak barrels. The winery, which has a capacity of over 500 tonnes, ferments a small proportion of the wines each year, as well as ageing on lees in stainless steel tanks, helping soften the wines before they go into bottles for the second fermentation.
Following fermentation stages the wines are aged in barrels or tanks for up to eight or nine months, then blended, filtered and bottled before commencing further fermentation and ageing in bottles. This process can take a minimum of 18 months and a maximum of five years to mature and develop.