Interview With Hester Fenwick – Brabourne Vineyard

30th May 2024

Interview With Hester Fenwick Brabourne Vineyard

There is no denying that English Sparkling Wine is on the rise, becoming an undeniable contender to Traditional Method Sparkling around the world. To the English, it’s becoming a fan favourite and a go-to Glass of Bubbly, its quality is improving year after 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 Hester Fenwick, the incredible owner of Brabourne Vineyard, in England, let’s find out a little about her life in the English wine industry and her sparkling wines.

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

“We fell into wine quite by chance. On moving back to England, having lived overseas for ten years, we bought a house in Kent and ended up with eight acres of garden, much of it South West facing grassland on the lower slope of the North Downs. It had been a market garden after the war so has been used for agriculture before but had been left to grass for over twenty years before we moved in. When we started looking into what we could do with our ‘garden’, we realised it was perfect vineyard terroir. And the rest is history – we planted two acres of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in 2014, with the first wine launched in 2019.”

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

“My parents were keen on their wines – New World wines in particular – and spent years offering me a glass of their latest find. I spent my teens and early twenties confused about the fuss over Champagne (much as my own teens do now) but my first holiday with my now husband was to the Champagne region and we spent a very enjoyable day cycling between wine cellars, getting slightly more wobbly as we went. And then my dad chose a lovely New Zealand sparkling for our wedding wine (to be honest, I have no idea what it was) and my appreciation has built from there.”

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

“Oddly enough, I love our 2018 Classic Cuvee with fish and chips. They really complement each other.”

What Can Fans Of Brabourne Vineyard Look Forward To As You Continue To Expand?

“We have just received Leveling Up funding to be able to put in the hygiene measures required to serve food. So the plan is to start offering drop in options for visitors who don’t want the full tour and tasting experience, just to come along, have a glass or two of wine and maybe some cheese or charcuterie. We’ll also be hosting our first couple of weddings this year – taking advantage of our truly stunning location to offer both couples very personal and bespoke experiences (mostly planned by them!).”

Can You Share With Us One Of The Most Memorable Experiences You’ve Enjoyed With A Glass of Bubbly?

“Christmas 2020, all presents wrapped, all preparation complete, log fire burning and a glass of our first sparkling wine (2017 Blanc de Noirs) in hand. Nothing dramatic but just a moment when life couldn’t be better!”

Thank you Hester, 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 Hester Fenwick. 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.