Top Wineries of Great Britain 2023: 21 to 25

Top Wineries of Great Britain 2023

21. Black Chalk

Location: Hampshire

Best known for: Chalk. Black Chalk is owned and run by ex-Hattingley Valley winemaker Jacob Leadley and his brother-in-law Andrew Seden. Based in the Test Valley in the chalklands of Hampshire, Black Chalk, with 12 ha of vineyards, symbolises both the soils and the name used by the old masters to sketch out their ideas on canvas.

Since the impressive 2015 debut releases, Black Chalk entered a new phase of expansion in 2019, leasing 12 ha of vineyards in Hampshire’s Test Valley, planted in four sites to pinot noir, meunier, chardonnay, pinot gris and pinot précoce and building a state of the art winery and tasting room. Both its Classic and Wild Rose sparklings have performed consistently well since their release, while the Rumour Has It and Dancer in Pink underline the growing promise of England’s still wines.

22. Squerryes

Location: Kent

Best known for: Licet Esse Beatis, a licence to enjoy, is the Warde family motto engraved above the front door at Squerryes Court, HQ of the family who have farmed their 1000 hectare estate for 300 years. Inspiration for a vineyard came via Champagne Duval-Leroy in 2004, since when Henry Warde has established 20 ha planted to the three Champagne varieties, along with a cellar door and restaurant, facilities that underpin their hospitality ethos.

Under a grapes-for-wines contra deal, the Squerryes wines are made by Collette O’Leary at Henners, but in anticipation of building a winery and taking the winemaking in-house, the Wardes will have the potential to double their volume next year. The wines are all top drawer, most notably a terrific 2016 Exclusive Vintage Magnum and the 2015 Exclusive Vintage Blanc de Blanc.

23. Balfour Hush Heath

Location: Kent

Best known for: Long before he became Mr. Hospitality UK when he took over the Hotel du Vin and Malmaison chains, owner Richard Balfour-Lynn was talking in the very early days about the importance of brand and his first Hush Heath Brut Rosé, made in 2004, pushed the boundaries of price and brand, winning a gold medal at The International Wine Challenge in 2007. Aiming high, he wanted it to be England’s answer to Billecart-Salmon Rosé Champagne, his favourite.

After purchasing the 162 ha farmland with his wife Leslie, he planted just 2 ha in 2002, since when the vineyard sources, winery and tasting room have been considerably expanded and Balfour now makes some half a million bottles a year. Hush Heath Estate prides itself, not just on its wines—made by father and son team Owen and Fergus Elias—but a visitor experience that includes self-guided strolls through the vineyards, vineyard tours, wine tastings, lunches and a dining club for members, with events hosted throughout the year. Balfour also owns 10 pubs.

24. Roebuck Estates

Location: West Sussex

Best known for: Established in 2013 by Michael Smith and John Ball, Roebuck, which owns and manages 60 ha of vineyards in Sussex and Kent, released its first sparkling wines in 2019. On its 10th anniversary this year, it recently announced the Roebuck Viticulture Academy, a three-day vineyard training program led by viticulturist Jake Wicks.

Roebuck shone this year with its 2017 Rosé de Noirs and by all accounts the new 2017 Classic Cuvée could rival it in quality. This summer, Roebuck unveiled its new vineyard tasting area, The View, programming a calendar of events including picnic and feasts in the vines, vineyard tours and tastings.

25. Weyborne Vineyard

Location: Haslemere, South East

Best known for: Weyborne’s first vines were planted at Blackdown Park in 2007 to the Champagne varieties chardonnay, pinot noir and meunier on slopes peaking at 280m above sea level. The team of Nick Clarke, Benjamin Abric and Toby Spiers works five vineyard blocks on Weyborne’s single-vineyard estate. We rather liked the Weyborne wines along with their ultra-traditional labels, the stand-out wine being the 2018 Classic Cuvée Brut.

For GBP £9,950, Weyborne operates a patron membership scheme by which a lucky 50 patron members can each get the wine from the equivalent of a row of vines from the original vineyard, which has just 50 rows of pinot noir and chardonnay, along with other exclusive benefits. Temple of the Winds membership, a snip at a mere GBP £995, gives access to events and an ongoing supply of Weyborne wines.

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