Silverhand Estate brings sustainability and quality in its new range
Kent producer Silverhand Estate has launched a forward-thinking portfolio. Gary Smith, CEO of parent group MCDV UK, explains the plans to db.
Positioned on the Kent Downs and mostly producing sparkling wine, Silverhand Estate has many similarities with established names of the English wine world. Yet the company, which launched less than a year ago, is proud to forge its own path. As Smith freely admits, “it is a very different wine business to anything else in the UK.”
In part, its point of difference lies in accessibility. Silver Reign, which launched in June as the estate’s first wine, is an English sparkling retailing below £20. A combination of the Charmat method and economies of scale has ensured Silverhand can hit this keen price point.
Smith believes the release targets a gap in the market. The goal is to encourage British consumers “to trade in and trade up” from the sub-£15 sparkling wines they might usually buy. “It is an affordable premium version,” says Smith, “but also local, sustainable and English.”
A second dividing line comes in the company’s approach to sustainability. MCDV UK has vast experience in organic wines, gained working its Provence estates, and Smith believes UK consumers will soon demand organic production in England. “At the moment, we’re pioneers,” he declares. “We’ve probably taken it to the next level in the UK.
What this looks like on the estate – one of the UK’s largest organic vineyards – is a complex regimen blending both tradition and innovation. Natural pest control, for instance, comes from traditional, organic compounds and a herd of rare-breed sheep that maintain a healthy ecosystem. Yet these are guided by modern technology: detailed climatic and geological data guides any intervention. There are even plans to tag the sheep, in a ‘virtual fencing’ system that will free them to roam the estate.
For Smith, the benefits are twofold. The winemaking team has seen benefits in the bottle, while the dedicated wildlife and conservation team are seeing a tangible environmental impact. He believes both aspects to be crucial to future success: “If we’re taking in the most natural fruit, we have a better product. But looking after the land is bigger than our wines.”
With these clear principles, both economic and sustainable, guiding its growth, Silverhand has just announced its new portfolio. The range of still and sparkling wines was unveiled at a dinner on London’s Park Lane in October.
At its heart is Kyng, a traditional method wine made with Pinot Noir from the highly praised 2018 vintage. Smith explains the cuvée as “a really classic blanc de noirs that’s on par with the premium Champagnes.” Kyng will amount to a continuing series, made in only the best years. “If it’s the right quality,” Smith says, “we’ll be launching it under the Kyng moniker.”
As part of the first release, 50 of the bottles are available in limited edition wood and stainless-steel packaging designed by Lord Norman Foster. Once opened, it doubles as a high-quality wine cooler, a further nod to sustainability as it is designed to last a lifetime.
The rest of the range entails the Classic Brut, Blanc de Blancs, still Solaris and Chardonnay. Smith believes the Solaris, a grape planted to only 95ha in England, has especially exciting prospects: “it is an opportunity to become the English Sauvignon Blanc.”
Even though the full portfolio is a new venture, he already has ideas on what comes next. There are plans for an English red from Pinot Noir and the team is experimenting with Bacchus. As Smith notes, “Silverhand Estate is at the start of the journey.” The future indeed seems sparkling, and certainly bright.
The full range will be available from next week and KYNG, and its exclusive reusable packaging, will be available for preorder at https://silverhandestate.com/