Languedoc-based producer crosses the channel to take on a new challenge
Ruth & Charles Simpson of the Languedoc-based winery, Domaine de Sainte Rose have taken on a new challenge, to produce world-class sparkling wine in England!
The Simpsons are preparing to plant the first ten hectares (25 acres) of vines (of a potential 30 hectares/90 acres) in Kent, this May.
We chose Barham in Kent due to its high number of sunshine hours and its proximity to the coast. Our two vineyard sites are situated on south-facing, free-draining, chalky loam soils, identical to those in Champagne which is why we will be planting four different clones and two different rootstock for each of the three Champagne varieties, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier.
To gain experience, the Simpsons produced a 2012 Sparkling Chardonnay at Domaine de Sainte Rose which sold out just one week after its release in November 2013.
Based on this success, we have quadrupled the volume of sparkling wine produced from the 2013 vintage and 90% of it has been pre-sold. The increased volume will also include a Blanc de Noir Reserve and a Rosé.
They intend to produce a similar range of products from their vineyards in England, with the first release likely to be in 2018.
The entrepreneurial couple has built up significant ‘savoir-faire’ in France over the past 11 years and now feel quietly confident that the time is right to apply it to a UK project.
Our goal is simple, to add to and set new standards in the fast-growing and increasingly admired world of English Sparkling Wine. The Simpsons’ Wine Estate sparkling wines will eventually sit alongside the award-winning wines already produced at Domaine de Sainte Rose.
The Simpsons are confident that demand for English Sparkling Wine is not limited to the home market and will not be relying solely on the competitive UK marketplace.
Our current UK customers are very interested in our new project but our American and Canadian customers have also expressed significant interest and we will definitely be exporting some of our production.