Hattingley Vineyard & Partners

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.

Hattingley Valley Vineyard

Location: Hampshire
Owner: Simon Robinson
Vineyard Managers: Colin Hayward & Romain Henrion
Soil Type: Flinty loam on solid chalk
Year Planted: 2008 & 2011
Grapes Grown: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, Bacchus, Pinot Gris
Vineyard Area: 9 hectares
Altitude: 160m

Simon Robinson began his venture into farming in the 1990s by purchasing wheat fields and ending up with 600 acres. He then decided to pursue a lifelong passion for wine by planting vines in 2008 on south-facing, chalk-based slopes. Extensive environmental and location studies determined the best site on his estate which was then planted using the latest, GPS guided technology. Recognising that he himself did not know much about viticulture, Simon took on Romain Henrion, then an MSc student at Toulouse University to help out in the vineyards in 2012. This led to Romain staying on full time once he’d finished his graduate studies. He stayed with us for 3 years making sure the vines had the best start possible. Romain remains our consultant but Colin manages the vineyard on a day to day basis, taking great pride in keeping the vineyards well-groomed and thriving.

Thorrington Mill Vineyard

Location- Essex, 2 miles to the coast
Owner- Polly & Mark Baines
Vineyard Manager- Mark Baines
Soil Type: Grade One Loamy Clay
Year planted: 2018
Grapes Grown: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Bacchus
Vineyard Area: 4.5 Hectare- 11.1 Acres
Altitude: Sea Level to 15 metres

The Mill itself dates back to the 17th Century and the farm surrounding it has been there since the 14th Century. Polly Baines’ grandfather purchased the farm in 1941 to focus on growing seed. They then diversified into strawberries in 1978 and spent the following 40 years specialising in that crop until they moved into grape growing in 2018.

Mark has also helped to establish other vineyards in the locality due to the ideal climate and low-lying land. Incredibly, drought is one of the biggest threats in this region, who would have thought that would be a factor in England!

Not only do they own the Mill and the vineyard, they also have some Shepherd Huts on site for rental. The setting is idyllic and we highly recommend staying with them.

Hazel Street Vineyard

Location - Kent
Owner - Patricia Davenport
Vineyard Manager - Richard Greenwood
Soil Type: Tunbridge Wells Sandstone
Year Planted: 2017 and 2020
Grapes grown: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir Précoce
Vineyard Area: 17 Hectare- 42 acres
Altitude: 100m

When asked when the farm was established, Richard, the farm manager replied ‘Since time immemorial’, which is no surprise given the history of hop farming here since the 15th Century. Londoners from the East End used to spend their family summer holidays picking hops in the area. The farm was purchased by the Davenport family in 1990 and they have continued the farming legacy, with fruit and at times a little livestock. More recently, they have focused almost exclusively on apple and pear orchards, until our conversations began and they planted 10 hectares of vines in 2017.  A further 7 hectares followed in 2020.

Richard has managed the farm since 1984 and has extensive experience in farming so we are confident that between him and Plumpton student, Laimis Norbutas, we will continue to receive premium quality fruit for many years to come. They are Red Tractor Farm Assurance Fresh Produce and achieved the Gold Standard which can only be done with a true commitment to environmental consideration and the encouragement of natural biodiversity.

Plantation - Chardonnay
Sheepwash - Chardonnay
Field 2 - Chardonnay (for Still wine)
Larkins - Pinot Noir
Hop 1 - Pinot Meunier
Hop 2 - Pinot Noir Précoce and Pinot Noir

Stour Valley Vineyard

Location - Suffolk
Owner - Paul Halsall
Vineyard Manager - Paul Halsall
Soil Type: Light sandy loam
Year planted: 2016         
Grapes Grown: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier
Vineyard Area: 3.29 Hectare-8.13 Acres
Altitude: Sea Level

The Halsall family must be one of the oldest farming families in the UK with history dating back to 1400. Paul’s great grandfather moved to Essex from Lancashire in 1921 for the warmer climate and great growing areas. Paul has been a farmer in this area all his life and manages over 1000 acres of farmland, predominantly arable, diversifying into grapes in 2016.

Wick Farm Vineyard

Location- Essex
Owner- James Blyth, with daughter Rosie Forshaw and son Robert Blyth
Vineyard Manager- Tom Bunting
Soil Type: Sandy loam
Year planted: 2017
Grapes Grown: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier
Vineyard Area: 3.64 Hectare- 9 Acres