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Provenance

The Wine Garden of England

The Wine Garden of England

Even the subtlest differences in terroir – slope, direction, shelter, altitude, soil – can influence the characteristics of the grapes, and for us there was no more important consideration in our quest to create distinguished English sparkling wine than the quality and suitability of our land.

We laid down roots for the Simpsons Wine Estate in 2014 amid the pristine beauty of the Elham Valley – an unspoilt seam in the North Downs of Kent where the contours of the land, the climate and the soil could scarcely be improved upon for viticulture. Located in a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), our two vineyards set an alluring scene, looking out over gently undulating English countryside towards the distinctive copper-green spire of Barham Church.

Chalk Soil

Chalk Soil

Our intensely lime-rich chalk soil, forming part of the same chalk ridge that stretches from southern England to the French Champagne region 150 miles away, is without doubt the most desirable for the cultivation of the time-honoured trio of grapes that go into the world’s finest sparkling wines: Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay.

We have seen on our wine estate in France (Domaine Sainte Rose) how the most striking results in viticulture come from farming on the limits – providing the vines with just enough of what they need to survive but never too much. The contrary forces of a chalk soil support this task perfectly: it is free draining yet able to absorb water, protecting the vines from thirst even in the driest of periods.

Our Microclimate

Our Microclimate

The English climate may be marginal for viticulture but its relative austerity – where expertly handled ¬– is ideally suited to creating sparkling wines with racy acidity and subtly sophisticated aromas, thanks to a long, cool ripening period.

Simpsons Wine Estate is located in one of the sunniest corners of the British Isles, and we have further safeguarded our vines against extremes in climate by selecting sloping vineyards that face almost due south, ensuring heat accumulation in the day, and excellent cold air drainage at night. The maritime influence is also crucial to the success of our vines: we are less than eight miles from the coast on three sides, which helps insulate our fruit against intense variations in temperature.

Provenance

The Simpsons’ Vineyards

We planted the first 10 hectares of Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir on our estate in 2014. This is our Roman Road Vineyard, situated alongside the route the Romans first marched when invading England in AD 43. The Romans are credited with bringing the first vines to England and may well have planted them on the same hillsides as ours.

The plantation of the same three grape varieties continued on the sunny slopes south of the village and on other side of the valley with a further 20 hectares of vines being planted over 2016 and 2017. This is our Railway Hill Vineyard, so called because the Canterbury to Folkestone light railway passed through this site in the late 19th and first half of the 20th Century.

When all three planted vineyards are in full production, we have the potential to produce 250,000 bottles of English sparkling wine per year. The first bottles of Simpsons sparkling wine will be released in late 2018.