Popping the cork on English wine

May 13, 2014 9:55 am The UK Domain

Tasting success

For Simon, being able to delight friends and family with his very own home grown bubbly is an incredible achievement: “When I developed the idea for a small vineyard and micro winery here in Lower Wield it was a really exciting prospect. Seven years, over 35,000 vines and a lot of hard work later, we officially launched our first vintage batch in 2013. It was an incredibly proud moment. It’s hard work starting a new business, especially in a relatively new industry for Britain, but the satisfaction is enormous.”

From planting the first vine to establishing the website

Simon Checketts, manager at Hattingley Valley Wines, has been at the helm of the business from the start: “There is a significant amount of time between planting the first vine to popping the cork on the first bottle. Therefore, it was important for us to firmly establish our online presence through our website hattingleyvalley.co.uk to increase awareness in the product and generate connections both in the UK and globally. It was important for us to choose a .co.uk domain as it’s crucial that our online presence communicates trust and British quality as much as our product does.”

“The market for English sparkling wine has transformed in recent years and today we are among the largest UK wine producers,” says Simon. “Our website has enabled us to access customers worldwide and we now export our quality sparkling wine across Europe and Asia.”

“With any start up business there are challenges and we’ve experienced our fair share,” adds Simon. “Starting the business in a small English village, worlds away form the vine-saturated Champagne region, we are learning with each harvest that our crop is subject to the whim of the great British weather. However thanks to improving vine growing expertise and advanced wine making technologies, we are now able to deliver world-class quality wine despite the cooler British climate.”

Using our British identity and cultivating individuality

With UK solar roof panels and plans to use the grape husks for fertiliser and animal feed, Hattingley is one of the most environmentally friendly wineries in the UK. In addition to these eco friendly attributes, Emma Rice, head wine maker, explains what makes Hattingley so special: “English wine making is an incredibly fresh industry compared to that of other wine growing regions. The unique combination of a long and cool growing season, plus a chalky soil similar to that of the Champagne region means the wine we produce can compete with well-known brands. There are over 400 vineyards in England and Wales producing sparkling and still wines. Our distinctiveness and British identity means we are able to stand out from the crowd. We’ve also developed methods of injecting some of our own style into the product to achieve a unique and superior flavour.”

Keeping up with the digital age and adding local flavour

Hattingely Valley is a business infused with local colour and the passion of its staff all adds to the charm. Wine assistant, Will Perkins explains: “I grew up in Wield, and Hattingley provided me with the perfect opportunity to pursue my passion in the wine business. It’s fantastic that young people who have grown up in the area can find professional employment on their front door step.”

Josh Foster, marketing executive, is another young professional whose local ties brought him to Hattingley Valley. He has been instrumental in bringing the brand to life through effective partnerships and digital marketing: “Our involvement at events such as the Best of British Polo and the London to Brighton Veteran Car Rally enables us to reinforce our quintessential Britishness. It is really important for us to keep up with the digital age via our website and social media. When it comes to selling to different markets it’s essential that we are combining the best traditional methods with new technologies.”

French vineyard manager, Romain Henrion has been a permanent member of the team since 2012: “The choice to work at an English winery was an easy one. Working in such a new industry for the UK is really exciting. There isn’t a fixed way of working that you often find at long-established wineries and this growing industry provides original challenges for viticulture. I’m thrilled to be a part of it.”

Word is spreading fast about the quality of English wine and Hattingley is determined to make English wine synonymous with their premium continental competitors.

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