October 27th, 2016
It’s been a busy few weeks for the team at Simpsons Wine Estate in Barham Kent. They finished their very first harvest on Friday evening, successfully picking the grapes from the 10ha of land that they planted in 2014.
On Wednesday 26th October, Simpsons state of the art Winery was opened by Oz Clarke. Charles and Ruth Simpson were awarded an RDPE (Rural Development Programme for England) Growth Programme grant earlier this year to help fund the conversion of two barns, which are situated equidistant to their vineyards in Barham, Kent, into a modern winery and tasting room. Some of the first sparkling wine from Simpsons Wine Estate have already been pre-sold through Naked Wines, who have launched a crowd-funding scheme with the wine estate earlier in the summer.
Speaking at the opening, Oz Clarke said: “I’ve known these fields for many years. They are seriously chalky, well protected and south facing, so I have always wondered why people haven’t planted more vineyards in Kent. It isn’t called the Garden of England for nothing as it has always grown the greatest hops, apples, and pears, and now vines. We probably have more Champagne soil than here than the Champagne region does.”
He continued. “There’s every chance that in the next generation, the greatest sparkling wines will be made here in Kent. I welcome Ruth and Charles to the thriving world of English Sparkling wine. We expect great things, and I’m sure you won’t let us down.”
Charles Simpson: “We’re very excited to have Oz Clarke here to open our winery as he is a local boy from the village of Bishopsbourne, a mile away and went to the same school that our children go to now. We’ve finished our first harvest, which is happily bubbling away in our new winery, which he officially opened today. This is just phase one of our plans and we’re looking forward to starting phase two next year.”