OUR STORY - A PIONEERING WINE LEGACY
In 1806 Gregory Blaxland, a farmer from Canterbury Kent, emigrated to Australia with his brother John. The journey took 220 days. En route they collected vines from the Cape of Good Hope. In 1813 Gregory, with two other explorers, found a passage across the Blue Mountains, making Australian history.
From the vines he planted he became the first person to export wine from Australia to the UK, winning a silver medal for his red wine in London in 1822.
In 2016 Gregory’s descendant Henry Blaxland, inspired by the pioneering family history, planted 6.25 hectares of vines on farm land on the edge of the Kent Downs overlooking Canterbury Cathedral, which has been in the family for generations.
Prior to planting the land had been assessed as exceptional for vine growing. The geological strata of chalk, limestone and clay (peppered with flint) is identical to the champagne region. Climactic conditions now make East Kent, and the Canterbury area in particular, an optimum location for growing the champagne varieties. The vineyard is on a gentle south facing slope at the perfect height above sea level. It is apt that the city of Canterbury is twinned with Rheims, the birth place of champagne.
We have planted the classic champagne varieties Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier for sparkling wine but including clones which produce outstanding still wines. 10% of the area has been planted with Pinot Gris.
Where once apples and blackcurrants grew in abundance on our land in the heart of the Garden of England, vines are now forging a new identity for the region.
Our sparkling wines are being made by the internationally renowned wine maker Emma Rice of Hattingley Valley.
From our first harvest in 2018 we have released a Classic Cuvée and from 2019 a Sparkling Rosé. Our wines from the following years are maturing on the lees, including a Blanc de Blanc (Chardonnay solo) from 2019.
Our still wines are made by Defined Wine, a winery just south of Canterbury, which has established a national reputation. Our 2020 wines won 3 silver medals and a gold. Wines from our 2021 harvest have also now been released.