South East England

Hampshire vineyards are blessed with chalk soils perfect for English Sparkling Wine production. The wines are outstanding and have received multiple international and national awards.

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Hampshire Vineyards are some of the finest in the UK for English Sparkling Wine. Hampshire, in South East England has a wonderful mix of city, coast and countryside. Portsmouth and Southampton are the county’s two big cities and there are 2 National Parks, including the New Forest.  Hampshire is home to around 30 vineyards, including the oldest commercial vineyard in the country and at the time of writing, one of the newest.

Although some producers are making really interesting still wine, many Hampshire vineyards are blessed with chalk soil, which is ideal for English Sparkling Wine production, and this is where the county really excells.

What grapes are grown in Hampshire?

Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier the “noble” grapes used in Classic Method English Sparkling Wine have been a big focus for the English wine industry over recent years and they are the dominant varietals to be found in Hampshire’s vineyards.  Some producers are making wine from Bacchus, a cool climate grape and as the climate becomes warmer there are new plantings of varitials like Reisling, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris. For example, Bsixtwelve produces micro batches of Pinot Blanc. And Black Chalk Winery is leading the way in still wine production with a simple stunning rosé. However, for the moment, at least, Hampshire is very much traditional method English Sparkling Wine territory.

Exton Park Hampshire Vineyards
Exton Park, Hampshire

Is Hampshire a good wine producing region?

Hampshire is a little under the radar compared to its neighbours, Kent and Sussex, yet there is a long history (by English standards) of wine making in the region. Hambledon, established in 1952, is the oldest commerical vineyard in the country.  Vines were planted with the help and advice from friends at the renowned Champagne House Pol Roger with the first harvest produced in 1961.  In a 2015 English Sparkling Wine vs Champagne tasting organised by counter-culture magazine Noble Rot (now one of the best restaurants in the country), Hambledon came out top, beating 11 others. The result made national and even international news.

Hattingley Valley helped secure this global reputation for quality production by securing  a deal with the multiple grocery retailer Wholefoods. It was the  first English sparkling wine to be available nationwide in the US and a great inspiration for producers with stars in their eyes.

Closer to home, at the 23 Wine GB Awards, Hampshire vineyards won 18 awards, most notably a gold for Exton Park 2014 Blanc de Blancs. And Raimes Vineyard received critical acclaim in a series of international awards putting their English Sparkling Wine up there with some of the best in the world. Read Simon Huntington’s profile of Raimes Vineyard.

Augusta Raimes at the tasting bar
Augsuta Raimes in the Raimes Tasting Room, Hampshire

What makes Hampshire Vineyards so good for wine production?

In simple terms, sun and soil.

Hampshire has a lot of chalk soil and this is good news for winemakers as chalk is widely regarded as the most desirable soil type for sparkling wine production.  Marasby Co-Founder, Simon Huntington explains “chalk soil is favoured because of its free draining qualities. Vines that fight to get water send their roots deeper, this produces better quality grapes, which in turn will make better wine.” You may well have read about the band of chalk that runs from Champagne across the channel and through the south coast of England. Kent and Sussex have made much of this shared soil type.  But as Marasby photographer and author of Vineyards of Britain, Ed Dallimore, points out in his book: “Hampshire holds more chalk as a percentage than either of these counties, accounting for around 70% of the major soil type.”

Hampshire is in the south east of England and as such enjoys some of the best grape growing climate in the country. Historically, England’s cool, wet climate made it a marginal territory for wine production. But temperatures have increased by 1.5 degrees since the 1980’s making it a much more viable territory for grapes like Pinot Noir for use in English Sparkling Wine.


Vineyards in Kent in Vineyards of Great Britain author Ed Dalimore

Ed Dallimore selects

Wineries in Hampshire

Marasby Photographer @59Vines Ed Dallimore is author of Vineyards of Britain.  It’s got rave reviews from some of the most famous critics in the business, including Jancis Robinson, and it’s well worth a read.

Here are Ed’s top picks of Hampshire Vineyards

Black Chalk Wine
Bsixtwelve.Lone Farm Vineyard
Charlie Herring Wines
Exton Park
Hambledon Vineyard
Hattingley Valley
Jenkyn Place
Ladyhill Vineyard
Raimes Family Vineyard
The Grange