Interview With The Founder of Bradstock Estate
24th March 2023
There is no denying that English Sparkling Wine is on the rise, becoming an undeniable contender to Champagne, and although it still has some way to go in convincing the rest of the world, to the English, it’s becoming a fan favourite and a go-to Glass of Bubbly, it’s quality is improving with each year and thanks to innovators and those willing to follow their dreams, the choice of English Sparkling Wine is expanding.
In this feature I speak with Michael Lewis, the incredible mind behind Bradstock Estate Vineyard and Winery, let’s discover a little about his time in the Wine Industry.
Tell Us About Yourself
“I am an award-winning businessman with a background in electrical engineering and property development, in 2008 along with my brother Steven I created the underfloor heating store, an online e-commerce platform making it easy to buy renewable products. This quickly became the biggest company of its kind in the UK. We were listed in the Fast track 100 companies in 2014 giving us the chance to meet Richard Branson and in 2018 we won the Amazon Business Award for the fastest growing company. In 2019 I sold this company and moved on to different projects. I am a black belt in ju-jitsu and coach at a local club, I also have a pilot’s license which keeps me busy. I also race Caterham Cars if that’s of any interest, I like dangerous and high-adrenaline sports and the same goes for business activities.”
How Did You Become Involved In The Wine Industry?
“I found the most beautiful house with 10 acres of land in Dorset, in a village called Burton Bradstock and purchased it with a view to semi-retire there. The land is on a gently sloping hill, south facing. We had sheep on it to start with – but sheep are literally intent on either escaping or attempting to kill themselves in the most stupid manner on a daily basis. I was thinking of other ways to utilise the land when I saw an article in the times about how English wine is fast becoming the best in the world. I spoke to a company called Vineworks and 6 months later we had a fully planted vineyard. Two weeks after we planted a further 90 acres of land went up for sale backing onto our house, I also purchased this and now we plan to plant another 60 acres next year making us one of the biggest vineyards in the UK. We have also begun designing a state of the art winery on site.”
What Influenced You To Create Bradstock Estate, and Start Producing Your Own English Sparkling Wines?
“I tried a glass of Nyetimber’s Sparkling Wine at the Vineyard and Winery show, along with several other English wines and it was a revelation. I find most Champagnes quite stuffy and insist upon themselves, but English sparking wines were fresh, easy to drink and quite clearly full of enthusiasm and hard work of the producers.”
What Has Been Your Hardest Obstacle To Overcome In Producing English Sparkling Wine?
“The hardest thing has been dealing with the planning department of the local council. To get a 2m square shed built requires quite literally years of planning consultation and ££££. Our planning laws and parish councils need a complete overhaul in the UK. They are preventing projects from going ahead that would bring great benefits across the UK.”
How Do You See The Future Of English Sparkling Wine?
“I honestly believe that English Sparkling Wine will be regarded as the best in the world within 10 years. It is an incredible opportunity for the UK to export a premium product into a global market, creating jobs, encouraging tourism and any number of other positive things, not least of all being able to have an amazing glass of bubbly.”
Where’s The Most Memorable Place You’ve Enjoyed A Glass of Bubbly?
“I started dreaming about owning a vineyard when I visited Castello di Casole in Tuscany. To replicate the natural beauty of that area in England would be amazing. However, in the UK, I visited Furleigh Estate recently in Dorset and enjoyed a tasting of all their wonderful wines whilst sitting in the sunshine around the beautiful lakes. I can highly recommend.”
Thank you Michael, for sharing your words, knowledge and experience with us and we at Glass of Bubbly wish you the very best for the future!
Images belong to Michael Lewis. Glass of Bubbly was granted permission to use them.
Champagne and Sparkling Wine Writer, Focused on Bringing the Exciting and Fascinating World of Bubbly to You.