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Kent Wine of the Year 2021: Herbert Hall Sparkling Brut – Herbert Hall Winery

Learn how Herbert Hall care for the environment

Herbert Hall bottle numbering

Bio

The award-winning Herbert Hall Winery is based in the village of Marden, Kent. It produces single-estate traditional method English Sparkling Wines. The winery’s first release in 2011 was described by the leading wine critic Matthew Jukes as: “the finest debut English Sparkling Wine I have ever tasted”. Since then this under the radar winery has become a benchmark for high-end artisan winemaking in the UK and has supplied many of London’s most famous restaurants and hotels including Le Gavroche, Scott’s, Le Caprice, the RAC Cub, the Groucho Club, The Goring Hotel, J Sheekey, 67 Pall Mall, Grays & Feather and Monica Galetti’s Mere. Herbert

Hall also makes a limited-edition English Sparkling Wine for HRH The Prince of Wales (Highgrove).

With its focus on handmade production and barrel-fermented limited edition cuvées, critics have described the work of this boutique organic estate as among the finest in the UK and the world.

The Sunday Times’s Will Lyons picked Herbert Hall as among his Top ‘Ten Sparkling Wines of the World’ for the Wall Street Journal (Europe). The Spectator’s Jonathan Ray later selected Herbert Hall as one of his Top 100 in his book “Drink More Fizz – 100 of the World’s Greatest Champagnes and Sparkling Wines to Drink with Abandon”.

Herbert Hall’s wines are retailed through, Fortnum & Mason and Lea & Sandeman or direct from the winery.

SUSTAINABILITY AT THE HERBERT HALL WINERY

The Herbert Hall Winery has been committed to Sustainable Sparkling Wine Production since planting its first vineyard in 2007. We have focused our sustainability programme on the two key areas of our business – Vinegrowing and Wine Production – and we are constantly reviewing our own operations and technical advances within the industry to ensure that we continue to engage with climate change mitigation.

VINEGROWING

In line with WineGB’s Sustainability Scheme we focus on four key objectives in the Vineyard. All of these are underpinned by our decision to farm organically.

Maintain and Improve Soil Health

Canopy and Yield Management

Reduce Pesticides Input

Conservation of the Vineyard and Surrounding Environment

The Vineyards form part of a larger holding that has been in Countryside Stewardship since the 1980s and is currently in Higher Tier Stewardship.

As an Organic grower we are committed to improving soil health. To achieve this we limit our crop protection (primarily to combat Downy and Powdery Mildew) to levels falling well within Soil Association limits.

We use under-vine cultivation to control weeds, using the cultivator only when spraying in order minimise soil compaction and the fossil fuel consumption caused by multiple tractor passes. With the exception of spraying, mowing and cultivation, most vineyard tasks are completed manually and unlike many vineyards we chop vineyard prunings back into the soil, thus adding back organic matter and improving soil structure. Our focus on canopy management is key to maintaining a healthy vineyard - thinning and leaf stripping to maximise airflow through the vines.

The land surrounding the vineyard is subject to long-standing conservation programmes which include wildflower meadow plantings, restoration of derelict ponds and the planting or restoration of conservation headlands and hedgerows. This work has produced a network of wildlife corridors and a haven for beneficial insects around the production areas. Via the overall holding, we work closely with the RSPB and with local volunteers to record the flora, fauna and entomology of the whole farm. This recording has been ongoing since 2005, and a suite of measures are in place to protect and enhance the overall ecology in general and to help farmland birds in particular. Currently the specific focus is on the iconic and endangered Turtle Doves that breed on the farm and around Marden (one of only a handful of national hotspots), and on a DEFRA funded project to track the movement of Yellowhammers throughout the year in order to devise landscape scale strategies to boost this red-list species.

WINEMAKING

The winery is constructed as a simple dark green steel frame barn which blends in with the rural landscape. It is insulated throughout. As an artisan producer many of our operations are carried out by hand. We increasingly use old French Oak barrels which are re-used year on year and maintained using only steam to clean and disinfect.

We keep water consumption to a minimum. By changing protocols for cleaning tanks, barrels and winery equipment we have significantly reduced our water used/bottle produced ratio.

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