The historic estate of Nyetimber can trace its roots back through some of the most momentous events of British history. The “Nitimbreha” estate can be found in the Domesday Book of 1086, which was ordered by William the Conqueror. The Book was a comprehensive survey of property across England and Wales, and the well-positioned “New Timber” house didn’t escape the tax collectors’ attention. The “New Timber” house received an upgrade when the amorous Henry VIII erected a Manor House in the estate for his fourth wife, Anne of Cleves. Although their marriage didn’t last (Anne was one of the lucky ones, who was divorced rather than beheaded) the impressive Manor survived.
Hitting the fast forward button by about 450 years, things took a turn in 1988 when the first vines were planted. With a change of ownership in 2006, the winemaking dream-team of Cherie Spriggs and husband Brad Greatrix continued to shake things up at Nyetimber.
Since then, there have been considerable developments in the vineyard. Nyetimber vineyards span the three counties of Sussex, Hampshire and Kent. Now, only the trio of Champagne grape varieties (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier) is grown, and all vines are cuttings from vines in Champagne or Burgundy. Nyetimber exclusively uses grapes from estate vineyards and are famously uncompromising in their pursuit of quality; in 2012, no wine was made because the winemakers believed that the harvest was not up to scratch.
Across all sites, vines are exclusively planted on south-facing slopes to maximise sun exposure. Sites have been carefully selected and vineyards are meticulously managed to ensure shelter from inclement weather blowing in from the Channel.
All this conspires to create a range of wines that can lay enviable claim to being the firm favourite of HM The Queen, being served consistently at 10 Downing Street and also at the star-studded wedding of Prince William and Catherine in 2011. Locally, we were thrilled to see the Demi-Sec celebrated by Wine&Dine in December 2018. Nyetimber has just celebrated their 30th anniversary, and we can’t wait to see how they will thrill us next.