Kent wine producer: Hush Heath

Leslie and Richard Balfour, Hush Heath (photo: Manu Palomeque)

Leslie and Richard Balfour, Hush Heath (photo: Manu Palomeque) - Credit: Archant

We speak to Leslie and Richard Balfour-Lynn of Hush Heath about the winery’s place as one of Kent’s top wine producers

How did you get started in the industry?

Leslie and I planted our first vineyard at Hush Heath Estate in 2002 with a view to making a pink sparkling wine of an equivalent quality to Billecart Salmon Rosé, which was our favourite pink Champagne. We planted five acres purely as a hobby but with a professional approach, and the intention of producing something that we personally loved. Balfour Brut Rosé was launched in 2004 and quickly became a major success, winning a Gold medal and trophy in the International Wine Challenge for our first vintage.

The most hands-on element of your job?

Carrying out customer tastings and tours of the Estate for both trade and consumer visitors. This is a very personal experience – we are literally inviting visitors into our home and pride ourselves on our excellent hospitality.

Your proudest achievement to date?

While eating at the restaurant at the Royal Opera House, Leslie and I overheard a group of fellow diners drinking Balfour Brut Rosé, being surprised that it was English, and saying how fabulous it was.

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Favourite wine and food pairing

Balfour Brut Rosé with fish and chips.

Describe yourself in three words

Determined, uncompromising, passionate.

What is special about your brand?

At Hush Heath we pride ourselves on delivering an incomparable guest experience for our visitors – from the beauty of the vineyards, our stunning hospitality spaces, to the ambience we create, it is all about entertainment and enjoyment. We want our visitors to walk the vineyards, taste our wine, enjoy the spaces and have a fantastic time.

We are a family business with all our wines and ciders named after Leslie and myself, our four children, and most recently our dog, Liberty.

What do you envisage for English wines in the next five years?

Hush Heath currently exports to 30 different USA states, Canada, Hong Kong and Japan. We anticipate that exports will grow exponentially over five years, with up to 25 per cent of our sales taking place abroad.

hushheath.com

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