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. 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.
The 2018 harvest is currently maturing on the lees and will be released as a classic cuvée in 2021, using all the grapes, including the Pinot Gris. From the 2019 harvest we shall have, in 2022, a classic cuvée, a sparkling rosé and a Blanc de Blanc (Chardonnay solo).
Our still Pinot Gris is made by Defined Wine, a new winery just south of Canterbury, which has already garnered critical acclaim. We are proud to be playing a part in the pioneering Kentish wine making endeavour.