Blackboys, East Sussex, England
A family run operation from root to glass
A true family business from root to glass, Tickerage was founded by husband-and-wife Anthony and Zena Budd in 2007. They started their operation even before finalising the land’s purchase, preparing the soil of what would eventually become their vineyard. On May 1st, 2007 they planted the eight thousand plants that now supply the fruit to their elegant and characterful sparkling range.
Location: Blackboys, East Sussex, England
Working with us since: 2020
Total area under vine: 5 acres (2 hectares)
Our pick of the best wine from this producer: Blanc de Blancs 2011
Interesting fact: Anthony and Zena now have a purpose-built winery and tasting room on site, where they welcome professionals and consumers to taste their wines against the backdrop of the Sussex landscape. The fact that Zena also works as a Reception teacher in East Sussex schools – something she has done for over 15 years – gives her a particular awareness about how to communicate about Tickerage wines and invite people to the Budd’s slice of paradise.
Anthony and Zena Budd knew they wanted to change their lives, both from a professional and personal perspective, and invest in a plot that could become their family home and provide suitable land for a vineyard. A year-long quest for the best location eventually led them to Blackboys, a rural East Sussex village about 20 miles northeast from Brighton. While a south-facing plot would have been a more obvious choice, the north-facing slope of free-draining sandstone promised to provide the backdrop for longer and more complex ripening.
Every single element in Tickerage’s operation has been a product of the husband-and-wife team’s dedication and labour. They started preparing the land even before completing the plot’s purchase so that, on May 1st 2007, they would be able to plant the eight thousand vines of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meunier that now grow on Blackboys Vineyard. Living on site allows them to tend to the vines on a daily basis, with all the work, from pruning to harvest, done exclusively by hand.
The newly purpose-built winery offers the natural continuum to the work in the vineyard, with minimum time from picking to press. Anthony’s thorough approach comes through in the careful blending process but also, and above all, in the long period of lees-ageing that all cuvées undergo. The bottles are only disgorged before being released to the market, once they’ve developed the classical maturity that has become Tickerage’s trademark. The distinctive character of their wines is a product of the quality of the fruit they so carefully nurture but also of the time given to each cuvée to develop and express its full complexity.
The promise of the land certainly came into fruition in what is now a boutique production of delicious wines that speak of the Sussex landscape and of the Budd’s dedication. Tickerage wines are as much a labour of love as the education of their two daughters. And each vine certainly is somehow their child as well!