Saffron Grange – Interview With Aimie and Nick Edwards

1st July 2024

Saffron Grange Interview With Aimie and Nick Edwards

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 Aimie & Nick Edwards, the owners of Saffron Grange, in Essex, England, let’s find out a little about their incredible life in the English wine industry.

It’s Great to Speak with You, Aimie and Nick, Can You Tell Us A Little About Yourself & How Your Incredible Journey Into The English Wine Industry Began?

“As long as I can remember we have been a family of English Wine enthusiasts! Saffron Grange was founded by my father and it’s down to his determination and infectious enthusiasm that we do what we do today. When my wife Aimie and I lived in London, we used to regularly go to the English Wine Pantry, a small but friendly wine merchants in Borough Market to taste and discover new and exciting English Wines. After we left London, we went travelling across South-East Asia and when we returned, my father had, after much searching, secured a site with a view to planting a vineyard. The first ‘test’ vines were planted in 2008 and that’s when the fun really began!”

Do You Remember Your First Experience with Sparkling Wine? When It Was and What Kind of Label It Was?

“Before we were married with two young children, Aimie and I used to spend a lot of our holidays in France. We would get the ferry from Dover and then drive down through all the famous wine regions which usually involved a stop in Reims or Epernay. We were always thrilled by the grandeur and history behind Moët & Chandon but our really memorable experiences were always with the smaller growers and the family-run wineries; their passion and enthusiasm were infectious and we got a real kick out of discovering new ones. Beyond Champagne, we were impressed with Crémant de Loire and after visiting Bouvet Ladubay, we subsequently served it on our wedding day! We also couldn’t forget Cap Classique, as we are big fans (we think it is massively under-rated) having had the privilege of visiting South Africa and a few wineries, including Graham Beck, Tokara, La Petite Ferme, during our honeymoon almost 10 years ago.”

How Rewarding and Challenging Is Managing Your Own Business in the English Sparkling Wine Industry?

“We both gave up our full-time jobs and moved our family from Oxford to come on board at Saffron Grange when the business launched in 2019. In many ways, things got a bit easier for us both then as we were finally able to invest our time fully in growing the business.

It’s so rewarding to be able to enjoy nature and being outside, taking pride in growing a sustainable business by planting trees and encouraging biodiversity, amongst other things. We also love meeting lots of friendly, like-minded people and there’s nothing better than hearing amazing feedback on our wines and the experiences we offer to customers.

However, there are so many facets to our business that people don’t often consider, and that can sometimes be a real challenge. Not only is there the importance of growing and maintaining the vineyard through challenging weather and pests, but there’s also the importance of marketing our business, managing events, running tours and tastings, working with our trade customers, the general day-to-day running of the business as well as selling our wines, that sometimes you feel like you’re being pulled in all directions! Thankfully we have built up a fantastic team over the years both out in the Vineyard and in the Front of House team who are highly skilled and reliable. This has meant we are increasingly able to spend more time coming up with ideas that take the business forward in new directions.

As a small business, we are continually having to adapt and change our offering to suit our customers tastes and with increasing competition from larger businesses (especially wine producers from outside of the UK) who can undercut us, the biggest challenge is making enough profit on our wines to continue to grow the business. With all the increasing costs of materials, labour, storage, transport, utilities, taxes, etc. it’s definitely not easy, but we are grateful to our wonderful community who continue to support us by drinking local and coming out to our events come rain or shine!”

When It Comes to Pairing English Sparkling Wine with Food, Do You Have Any Favourite Combinations That You Would Personally Recommend?

“We are huge advocates for giving anything a try and not being afraid to push the boat out. Aimie is half-Japanese and it’s the reason we met, as we studied Japanese at university and spent a year living near Osaka as part of our degree. We are always particularly excited by Japanese food and English Sparkling Wine pairings, particularly sushi rolls, tempura prawns and grilled oysters (kaki-yaki), karaage (deep-fried chicken) and Gyoza dipped in soy sauce.”

What Future Plans Can Enthusiasts of Saffron Grange Look Forward to In the Coming Years?

“We wouldn’t want to take the element of surprise away but let’s just say we have lots of exciting plans afoot for Saffron Grange where we will be expanding both our wine and event offerings. We are currently in the process of planting another 10 acres of vines to increase our production and this year we are going to be running our first ‘Dine in the Vines’ event, launching new open-air cinema nights, introducing a membership programme and offering more opportunities for people to come on site and learn about what we do.”

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

“Our first daughter Kaya was born in the summer of 2017 and the celebratory meal Aimie and I enjoyed on the night we brought her home from the hospital was a bottle of one of Saffron Grange’s earliest vintages – a 2015 Classic Cuvée paired with a sushi platter.”

Thank you Aimie & 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 Saffron Grange. 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.