Fairmile Vineyard – Interview With Jan Mirkowski

18th June 2024

Interview With Jan Mirkowski Fairmile Vineyard

There is no denying that English Sparkling Wine is on the rise, becoming an undeniable contender to Traditional Method Sparkling Wines around the world. To the English, it’s becoming a fan favourite and a go-to Glass of Bubbly, its quality is improving year on year and thanks to innovators and those willing to follow their dreams, the choice of English Sparkling Wine is expanding.

In this exclusive feature we speak with Jan Mirkowski, the owner of Fairmile Vineyard, in Henley-on-Thames, England, let’s find out a little about his life in the English wine industry.

It’s Great To Speak With You, Jan, Can You Tell Us A Little About Yourself & How Your Journey Into The English Wine Industry Began?

“I sometimes joke that it was children who drove me to drink! The arrival of Anthea’s and my first baby made me re-evaluate a corporate career which included advising companies on environmental compliance. I had always wanted to run my own business, and we decided to turn my hobby (home wine-making) into a career, whilst drawing on my familiarity with sustainability principles.”

Do You Remember Your First Experience With Sparkling Wine? When It Was And What Kind Of Wine It Was?

“My stepmother came from Paris, and her family plied me with sips of Champagne during my first visits to France as a young teenager. I was intrigued by the taste, and the feel of bubbles in my mouth – although the alcohol made my head spin somewhat!”

How Rewarding And Challenging Is Managing Your Own English Vineyard?

“I love meeting our customers! Visitors seem interested in how the grapes are grown and turned into award-winning wines. They ask intelligent questions, and appreciate the time given to them – not to mention tasting the samples! I mustn’t, however, let the visits divert me from the challenges of keeping an eye on our weather and the plant growth phases, to get the best out of the vines.”

When It Comes To Pairing Sparkling Wine With Food, Do You Have Any Favourite Combinations That You Would Personally Recommend?

“There is an old saying that you should try to pair food with drink from the same region, so for example Herefordshire beef with Hereford cider, Staffordshire pork with Burton ales, etc. We are fortunate in Henley on Thames to have some fabulous artisan cheese makers nearby who produce cheeses unlike anything you find on supermarket shelves. I would definitely recommend washing down a local cheese with Fairmile Classic Cuvée – both yeast-derived products!”

What Future Plans Can Enthusiasts Of Fairmile Vineyard Look Forward To In The Coming Years?

“Our range started with only two products – a sparkling Rosé and a Classic Cuvée. We have now expanded the range with a vintage Blanc de Blancs from 2017, a Founder’s Reserve 2015 (aged for seven years on the lees to celebrate our tenth anniversary of planting), and will soon launch a 2018 Blanc de Noir. Our Founders Reserve 2015 proved so exceptional, we intend keeping a few hundred bottles of most future harvests for extended lees-ageing.”

Thank you Jan, for sharing your story and experiences with us and we at Glass of Bubbly wish you the very best for the future!

Images belong to Jan Mirkowski. Glass of Bubbly was granted permission to use them.

Oliver Walkey

Champagne and Sparkling Wine Writer, Focused on Bringing the Exciting and Fascinating World of Bubbly to You.