Sir Ian Botham names partner winery for his English fizz

Over a year since db first unveiled the famous British cricketers plans to launch an English fizz, we can now confirm the producer and launch date for this important project.

Ian Botham launched a three-tier range of Australian wines last year

In an exclusive interview with Sir Ian Botham and Paul Schaafsma – who represents the cricketer’s wines through Benchmark Drinks – it was revealed that the sporting legend’s first English wines will be unveiled this September.

After several visits to a range of English wineries, Botham has chosen his preferred partner for the project, which is Hush Heath Estate – a Kent-based specialist in pink sparkling wine that was founded in 2002 by entrepreneur Richard Balfour-Lynn.

Encouraging Botham to select Hush Heath Estate was not just the quality of the wines, but also the offer of a collaborative approach to the winemaking and promotion by the property’s owner, Balfour-Lynn.

Indeed, the new range of English wines will carry both partners names on the label, with the impending brand to be called Botham & Balfour.

Importantly for the recognition of English wine around the world, the two figures plan to work together to raise awareness of still and sparkling wines from the UK.

“Both of them are desperate to be ambassadors for the English wine industry,” said Schaafsma.

Notably, the Botham-backed launch will include an English still rosé, as well as a pink sparkling.

Sir Ian explained, “My relationship with Richard goes back a while, and I think his rosé Champagne – which I call it just to annoy everyone – is fantastic, and I don’t think I’ve ever been to a winery that is as immaculate as Hush Heath, and Richard is very progressive.”

Continuing, he recalled, “But then I tasted the still rosé, which is his latest release [from the 2018 vintage], and I thought wow, and a lot would think it was a Provençal rosé if they had it blind.”

As a result, Botham is initially to put his name to an English still and a sparkling rosé, and intimated that he may be tempted to add a still red to the line-up too, should Balfour-Lynn create a Pinot Noir that’s good enough.

For now, the rosé is planned to retail in the UK for around £15, with 10,000 bottles available from the 2018 vintage, while the exact nature of the pink fizz is yet to be confirmed, Schaafsma told db that he wants to keep the retail price to around £30.

We will bring more news on the tie-up following the launch event in mid-September.

Read more



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please note that comments are subject to our posting guidelines in accordance with the Defamation Act 2013. Posts containing swear words, discrimination, offensive language and libellous or defamatory comments will not be approved.

We encourage debate in the comments section and always welcome feedback, but if you spot something you don't think is right, we ask that you leave an accurate email address so we can get back to you if we need to.

Subscribe to our newsletters

Key Account Manager

MMI Maldives

Financial Controller

London City Bond
Barking, UK

Duty Manager

The Whisky Exchange
Great Portland Street, London

Spirits Advisor

The Whisky Exchange
London, UK

International Sales Manager

Elixir Distillers
Park Royal, London, UK

Brand Marketing Executive

Elixir Distillers
Park Royal, London, UK

Cellar Door Manager

House of Townend
Melton, North Ferriby, UK

Marketing Assistant

Bancroft Wines Ltd
London, UK

Marketing Manager

The Whisky Exchange
Whitby Avenue, Park Royal, London NW10 7SF

Millésime Bio 2020

27th Jan 2020

Maisons Marques et Domaines Annual Tasting

London,United Kingdom
29th Jan 2020

Austrian Wine Tasting

London,United Kingdom
3rd Feb 2020
Click to view more