IDEAL SOIL FOR ENGLISH SPARKLING WINE
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. We now have 12 hectares planted which our team diligently cares for throughout the year, to bring us a successful harvest each autumn.
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.
Sustainability is central to everything we do at Wiston. We are always striving to find ways of improving our processes to reduce our carbon footprint. In the winter months we allow sheep to graze in between the vines, completing the nutrient cycle of nutrients eaten, digested, dropped, degraded and allowed back to the vines. We have introduced bee hives into the vineyards to further help biodiversity and pollination of wild flowers and trees – the honey is then used in Chalk. We create our own compost with the help of local farmers meaning less carbon emissions from transport. At harvest we reduced the quantity of plastic used, in fact removed it entirely, by using material tape to secure crates onto pallets rather than pallet wrap, which is un-recyclable. After harvest the pressed grape skins are composted and returned to the vineyard. After pruning the removed wood is mulched back into the soil.
We are committed to maintaining the long term health of our soils. In spring we plant cover crops in between the rows of vines to improve soil structure, increase the natural biodiversity, and as a result this is beneficial for feeding our resident sheep. This year we have planted the following in our cover crops; Red and Bonito Fescue is good food for sheep grazing and helps increase competition in a wet climate. Crimson Clover, Red Clover, White Clover, Egyptian Clover and Common Clover, are all beneficial for the nitrogen fixing of the vines. Red Clover and Phacelia are pretty and attract good pollinators. We also use Radish for breaking up soil compaction – as well as feeding the sheep. These cover crops draw in beneficial insects such as; spiders, bumble bees, predatory beetles, lacewings, and ear wigs. Earthworms are also beneficial for improving water infiltration.
Meet our Vineyard Manager, Travis Salisbury
Explore our English Wines...
The Radiant Rose Set£55.00
A perfect gift set for your loved one this Mothers day, or to be enjoyed just for yourself!
The Wiston NV Collection£95.00
Try out our wines with this three-bottle case for under £100- English Sparkling Wines
Celebration Magnums Case£200.00
Guaranteed to enhance any special occasion from weddings to small family events.