Pinkmead Estate – Interview With Nicky O’Dell

2nd July 2024

Pinkmead Estate Interview Nicky O’Dell

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 Nicky O’Dell, the Director of Pinkmead Estate, in the Isle of Wight, England, let’s find out a little about their lives in the English wine industry.

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

“I live predominantly in Somerset with my wife and dog. Together we run a family property and investment company, but have started to venture into boutique residencies and developments. In 2014 when my father passed away Pinkmead Estate on the Isle of Wight was bequeathed to me. Being in our family for 3 generations and expensive to run whilst also being incredibly protective of the estate biodiversity and wildlife we knew we had to come up with alternative revenue streams to support and protect the estate ecosystem. We rented out the estate as a luxury residency rental which kept the estate afloat but wanted to expand into more creative avenues.

We had a field on the estate that was so picturesque and crying out for something different. Really appreciating English sparkling wine we thought, why not see what is possible, my wife was the one who came up with the idea. Working the forecasts and value chain I knew it would be a long term strategy, but if we went organic we could be part of the conversation in regenerative and sustainable farming principles and make a positive change whilst also doing something creative. It wasn’t about making money, it was about being different and experimental.”

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

“Yes, it was at Kettner’s in London when I was 22 with my best friend Nael and I tried NYE Timber and fell in love. I’ve never looked back.”

How Rewarding And Challenging Is Managing An English Winery?

“It is a mind field but also great fun. There is a great team on the estate who work according to their own schedule and we make sure we are enjoying and learning. We love to experiment with rows and overcrop to see where we can get the greatest output. Being only 3 meters above sea level luckily the frost in the winter months tends to be burnt off by the water mitigating difficult weather parameters which really affects other British vineyards.

The most rewarding and yet hard working day is harvest, being our second harvest and pressing on site for the first time last year was absolutely exhausting and yet so exhilarating. It felt like we had all run the London Marathon together. There was nothing quite like it and the fact our community came to help press was so wholesome and heartwarming.”

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

“Can I be a real heathen, personally there is nothing I like more than a bottle of English sparkling and fish and chips, if not English wine then Bollinger will do.”

What Future Plans Can Enthusiasts Of Pinkmead Estate Look Forward To In The Coming Years?

“Well, we are about to launch something rather exciting on the drinks front that isn’t just about wine and really looking forward to offering dining and pop-up experiences.”

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

“It is a little sombre but it was the scattering of my father’s ashes way before the inception of the vineyard, maybe it was a sign of things to come. Together with my mother we congregated by the lake and toasted to his legacy whilst drowning ourselves in a bottle of fizz… the sun came out and we felt truly at peace. It reminds me of that wonderful quote – “I drink Champagne when I’m happy and when I’m sad. Sometimes I drink it when I’m alone. When I have company I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I’m not hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise, I never touch it – unless I’m thirsty.”

― Lily Bollinger House of Bollinger Champagne

Thank you, Nick, 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 Nicky O’Dell. 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.