Is Essex the new Champagne? Discover Toppesfield Vineyard's award winning wines
- Credit: Toppesfield Vineyard
Holly Eells meets the husband-and-wife team behind the award-winning Toppesfield Vineyard, near Halstead...
Toppesfield Vineyard is an award-winning boutique vineyard in the rolling hills of north Essex.
Located near Halstead, it is run by husband and wife, Jane and Peter Moore, who began their winemaking journey in 2012 when they had the opportunity to buy some agricultural land next to their house.
Knowledgeable about their valley being heavily planted with vines from the Roman period, this inspired the business partners to create Toppesfield Vineyard.
‘We both had incredibly busy lives at the time,’ Jane explains. ‘Peter originally wanted to have the land grazed by sheep and cattle. I absolutely didn’t want to get home from London at 8pm on a wet and windy evening in the middle of winter and have to go out into the fields to check on livestock. Having had sheep as a child, I didn’t fancy the thought of treating sheep for maggots or clipping their hoof nails again!’
Jane continues, ‘After lots of discussions, we decided that growing grapes would be much more exciting and fulfilling. Even though Peter and I knew nothing about growing vines, we believed (from a lot of sampling!) that it is possible to make excellent wines in England. We wanted to produce the best grapes possible on our soil and therefore engaged the services of a highly recommended viticulture consultant, Duncan McNeill, of MVM Ltd.’
Fast forward to 2021, and Toppesfield Vineyard has won a number of regional, national and international awards. ‘Our main production is two still wines: Toppesfield Bacchus and Toppesfield Pinot Rosé. We also make small quantities of two sparkling wines. Our Classic Brut is produced with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes and the Sparkling Rosé is made with Pinot Noir.’
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Jane adds, ‘The vineyard has really brought home to me the value of consultancy. Our commercial backgrounds were certainly of benefit when we started to focus on the sales and marketing of Toppesfield Wines. We have built a fantastically loyal client base in retail, hospitality and direct sales.
‘We still find it exciting to see our wines on the shelves of local supermarkets, specialist wine shops, farm shops and high-end garden centres etc. During the lockdown we have seen many photos on Instagram and Facebook of friends, family and clients drinking Toppesfield wine at home.’
Read about more of the Essex vineyards putting English wine on the map in the September issue of Essex Life.