Deep rooted in the rolling hills, valleys and steep escarpments of the South Downs, Wiston Estate’s vineyards mark a new chapter in its long and fascinating history. After hundreds of years and generations of traditional arable and livestock farming on this ancient landscape, the vines grow in the heart of the estate, on sites selected for their combination of soils, microclimate and aspect.
Our first vineyard was planted in 2006 on flint-scattered soils over a chalk base. Having much in common with the revered Côtes des Blancs region of Champagne, the Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier vines are able to root deeply into this harsh unforgiving soil. This challenging growing environment is what forces the vines to produce the desired characteristics of both the land and the grape varieties, helping us create the unique wines for which the estate has become celebrated.
The soil, our most precious commodity, is an area on which we spend a great deal of time and energy; managing our interventions, which can have lasting impacts on soil quality and sustainability. We focus on preserving the natural soil microbiome, a system which has evolved over millions of years to balance and provide for all life. We don’t use herbicides, and opt for traditional tillage methods of weed control. We return as much as possible to the land through composting and mulching our prunings and grape skins to feed the soil.