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Squerryes Wine Estate

The joyous vineyard at one of Kent’s most historic estates.
“It is permitted to be joyful.”

If your ancestor received a royal pardon from the merry monarch King Charles II himself, wouldn’t it make perfect sense for your family home to become one of Kent’s leading wine estates? In what is indisputably now one of the world’s greatest wine regions, wouldn’t it be incumbent upon you to specialise in English sparkling wines that rival (and beat) the most joyful and celebratory of French wine regions – Champagne? 

The family home in question is Squerryes Court, and the descendent of the person who received the royal pardon is Squerryes Wine Estate founder Henry Warde. Celebration and all things joyful are baked into Squerryes, with the philosophy of the estate summed up by its motto Licet Esse Beatis – it is permitted to be joyful.  

It is set in stained glass above the front door at Squerryes, and a great reminder that however seriously English sparkling wine might now be taken by the world’s wine experts, it is still just something to drink when you’re in the mood for celebrating. 

Yet, compared with many flashy Champagne houses, Squerryes flies rather under the radar. Of course, we never need permission to be joyful at Marasby HQ, so we headed down to Squerryes to meet Henry and to find out a bit more about the estate.  

This under the radar profile certainly isn’t due to lack of quality in Squerryes’ wines. They are utterly superb. The Late Disgorged Vintage 2013 and Blanc de Blancs are richly textured, complex, capable of substantial time ageing in the cellar, and they smash any similarly priced Champagne for quality and value. Yet the Estate’s Brut and Rosé are extremely accessible. Open a bottle with a couple of friends and they will be clamouring for a second within minutes. 

Meeting Henry Warde, it is not lack of confidence either. Henry is upbeat, charming, and full of confident energy. The smile is broad. The handshake is extremely firm.  

While he may come from a rather grand family, which has inhabited the equally grand Squerryes Court for 8 generations, he has been independently successful. Prior to his career as a sparkling wine producer, he worked as an entrepreneur who raised hundreds of millions of pounds to fund energy infrastructure projects in the UK. The challenges of winemaking must pale in comparison. 


English Sparkling

From historic Kent

Unveiling Squerryes’ Late Disgorged Brut 2013 from the cellar might not be as flashy as firing the cork out of a bottle of Dom or Krug in a London nightclub. Yet what Squerryes offers is a different kind of joy.

This Isn't A Fearful Reaction To Sustainability ... It's A 100 Year Plan.

Squerryes wine estate vineyards in Kent

Henry’s plans for the estate are long term and substantial.  A great example is Cupid’s Wood – 25 acres of newly planted woodland and rewilded wetlands. It is about half a mile from the vineyard, and it will lock in carbon, create a corridor of bio-diverse ecology, and help the surrounding areas with flooding issues.   

It will take towards 50 years for the Cupid’s Wood project to come to full fruition, and it is just one facet of what Henry describes as a 100-year perspective. The fact that the Squerryes Estate is 2500 acres (vines are just a fraction of this) means that the way it is operated can have a real impact on the environment. By planting trees. By working with regenerative farming techniques to improve soil structure. By working only with organic fertilizer, and so on. 

“This isn’t a fearful reaction to concerns around sustainability,” Henry tells me, “but positive action – stewarding the estate for future generations.”  

This is for future generations of the Warde family of course, but it is also for the community around the estate, which gets to enjoy the wines, eat locally sourced produce from the estate, wander its woodlands and enjoy its wildlife. 

Let’s admit it. For many of us, the idea of the country estate inhabited generationally by the same family is quite old fashioned. Yet, in a world that incentivises its politicians and CEOs to be constantly seeking short-term initiatives that boost the quarterly report at the expense of long-term sustainability, a 100-year perspective may be exactly the old-fashioned idea that we need. 

Unveiling Squerryes’ Late Disgorged Brut 2013 from the cellar might not be as flashy as firing the cork out of a bottle of Dom or Krug in a London nightclub. Yet what Squerryes offers is a different kind of joy.  

The joy of having found that you’ve spent about half the amount on their 2013 versus a bottle of Dom or Krug is one of them! The joy of drinking a fabulously rich, multi-layered wine resplendent with brioche and citrus pith cutting through to an exceptionally long finish is another. The fact that this 10 year-old wine is still vibrantly youthful and could easily age and improve for another 5-8 years is yet another joy. These are real, long-term, substantial joys that aren’t just for show.  

So, go on… be joyful!  


So, go on… be joyful!  

If you love vintage Champage, try this.

Squerryes Vintage Late Disgorged Brut 2013 is both fabulous rich and multi-layered from extended ageing, and yet vibrantly youthful with its characteristically English brisk acidity. It can be enjoyed now as an alternative to Dom Perignon or Krug, or tucked away in the cellar for at least another 5 – 8 years (and possibly much longer).

English Sparkling Wine for NYE Squerryes