The Wiston Estate has been owned and managed by the Goring family since 1743. Its 6000 acres straddle the chalky slopes of the South Downs and the flat clay soils of the weald. Sussex beef herds, grazing sheep and arable crops have been part of the Estate landscape for centuries but it was not until Pip arrived that the ancient Roman idea of planting vineyards in Sussex became a reality for Wiston. As Harry Goring says, “No one seemed particularly interested in hundreds of acres of barley and wheat but plant 16 acres of vineyard and people are fascinated”.
The Vineyard is situated on the South facing chalk slopes of the South Downs. Wiston planted in 2006 with the traditional varieties of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier and it spreads across 16 acres. It is sited on a periglacial dry river valley on the Upper Cretaceous Chalk, which closely resembles the physical and chemical composition of the world renowned Côte de Blancs (Champagne). There are no herbicides sprayed on the soil, which enables the microbiological activity to thrive and we use a “boisselet” (mechanical hoe) to keep the weeds under control.
The traditional Coquard press at Wiston is one of only four outside of France and is unique to the UK. Its large surface area and exceptionally gentle pressing enables extraction of the very highest quality. This is at the heart of our winemaking philosophy to maximise the purity of the juice at pressing, followed by minimum intervention in the winemaking process so the wine can best reflect its vineyard’s origin. It also adds great aesthetic appeal to the winery when not in use, which is important given that this is for 50 weeks of the year.
Dermot Sugrue (the winemaker) is the scientific artist who has honed the unique flavours of Wiston wine. His unwavering commitment to purity and a desire to express the terroir of the vineyard makes him slightly nerve wracking for sales executives but the ideal partner for the Goring family. He was the wine maker at Nyetimber until 2006 when he came and joined Harry and Pip to create the new winery at Wiston.