Simpsons opens new wineryBy Rupert Millar
Kent-based winery Simpsons has celebrated the completion of its first harvest and the opening of its brand new winery.
The estate, owned by Charles and Ruth Simpson who also make wine in the Languedoc, completed its first harvest last Friday, from vines planted in 2014.
The Simpsons obtained a Rural Development Programme for England grant in May to turn two barns into a winery and tasting room and these were opened on Wednesday (26 October) by Oz Clarke.
Clarke, who grew up in the area, 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.
“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 added: “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.”