Interview With The Head Winemaker at Balfour Winery – Fergus Elias

19th May 2023

Interview With The Head Winemaker at Balfour Winery Fergus Elias

Wine isn’t just made, it’s crafted by the unwavering expertise of a Winemaker, sometimes old traditions are passed down by generations and on other occasions, new people venture into the industry, introducing us to new creations. This series of Winemaker Interviews will help you uncover the vast world and skills of how the artists passionate about wine make the world a bubbly place.

In this feature we speak with Fergus Elias, an amazing Winemaker from England. Let’s discover a little about his time in the English Wine Industry.

Tell Us About Yourself

“Born in the north (Kendal) and raised in the south of Kent. I’ve grown up in English wine! My father is one of the “founding fathers of English wine” and I spent my youth working in vineyards and wineries. This resulted in a fit of teenage rebellion and rather than head to Plumpton to study Viticulture and Oenology I went to Liverpool and studied Ancient History. I loved my degree but it’s pretty useless if you want to be a winemaker. Luckily when I left Liverpool I was offered a job at Balfour Winery, it was then that I really got my head down and started to build my career. With a lot of help from everyone here!”

How Did You Become Involved In The Wine Industry?

“Oh I blame my father entirely, though he claims it’s my own fault! As I said I grew up in a vineyard and winery so it feels inevitable. I briefly wanted to be a pilot, then a lawyer. But finally, I saw the light.”

As A Winemaker, What Has Been Your Hardest Obstacle To Overcome In Producing Wine?

“Risks are everywhere in English Viticulture; spring frosts, high humidity therefore disease pressure, indifferent weather patterns at flowering and harvest. It really is at the edge of sustainable viticulture here. However, if you select and manage your sites carefully then all of these can be controlled, if not nullified.”

How Do You Determine When Your Wine Is Ready To Drink?

“I taste it. No other way to do it.”

What Part Of The Wine Making Process Do You Enjoy The Most?

“Now that’s a great question, there are two main points for me, harvest and bottling. The true joy of working as a winemaker is the fact that you make something, tangible. You can hold it, there’s a thing which you have made. This process starts at harvest which I think is the most enjoyable time in the cellar and finishes to an extent at bottling/disgorging when you have a thing in your hand, that you have played a role in the creation of.”

Where’s The Most Memorable Place You’ve Enjoyed A Glass of Bubbly?

“A Glass of bubbly and a great view go hand in hand, probably one of the most memorable places I’ve been was sat overlooking the isle of Skye from the mainland, I was wild camping with two of my oldest friends just south of Applecross, it was pretty awesome.”

Thank you Fergus Elias, 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 Fergus Elias & Balfour Winery. 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.