South Downs, West Sussex, England
Passion, persistence – and the best winemaker in England
Wiston Estate’s winemaking story starts with two fundamental ingredients: chance and love. Pip and Harry Goring met, fell in love and got married. Pip left her home country, South Africa, to settle with Harry on his family’s estate in the South Downs in 1972 bringing with her a deep passion for viticulture and winemaking. Together, and while raising six children, they spent the following 34 years planning the planting of the 16 acres of vineyard that would start one of the most renowned English wine labels.
Location: South Downs, West Sussex, England
Working with us since: 2019
Total area under vine: 6.5 hectares
Viticultural standards: No herbicides used in the vineyard. Minimal intervention and low use of sulphur in the cellar.
Interesting fact: Wiston Estate owns one of the only four traditional Coquard presses outside of France (and the only one in the UK, pictured below right). Its large surface area and uniquely gentle pressing allows for the extraction of the purest of juices which, combined with the minimalist winemaking that follows, results in wine that fully expresses the vineyard’s origin.
The Goring family has been at the helm of Wiston Estate since 1743. For centuries, the family and their tenants have maintained the 6000 acres of land under steady production with crops such as barley and wheat. It wasn’t until 1972, when Pip Goring settled at Wiston with husband Harry, that the idea of planting vineyards was incepted.
Viticulture and wine had always been a passion that Pip nurtured while growing up in Cape Town, and together with Harry, the quest began to find the best varieties and plot within the estate to establish the vineyard. Thirty four years and six children later, 6.5 hectares of the three traditional champagne varieties (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meunier) were finally planted on a south-facing chalk slope. The vineyard is managed without the use of herbicides to promote the maximum biodiversity and microbiological activity in the soil.
The fact that Dermot Sugrue joined the project, right at its inception, to lead all winemaking and cellar operations has been crucial to Wiston’s success. After vintages in Champagne and Bordeaux and three years as winemaker at Nyetimber (during which he oversaw this estate’s emergence as one of the world’s leading sparkling wine producers), Sugrue joined the Gorings to establish the vineyard and cellar. Wine legend Steven Spurrier has described him as “the best winemaker in England.”, much due to his unwavering commitment to expression and purity. (Wiston’s dogs, Noodles and Tara, are Dermot’s favourite cellar assistants!
Since 2006 Wiston has steadily established its reputation as one of England’s top sparkling producers and possibly the one with a more defined terroir-driven approach. Its award-winning range together with the team’s talent to communicate the passion for the land and the wines they produce are the original and enduring secret of Wiston’s success.