In 1991 Will Davenport planted 5 acres of vines at Horsmonden in Kent, while simultaneously working for a Hampshire vineyard and, unintentionally, this became the beginning of a life-long business as a wine producer.
26 years later the vineyards now make up 24 acres, grown on 5 parcels of land, 9 grape varieties and a multitude of soil types and micro-climates. The vineyards are mostly at Horsmonden in Kent, with a smaller vineyard next to the winery at Rotherfield, East Sussex. Will was always a keen supporter of organic farming and in 2000 he made the decision to convert all the vines and winery to organic systems, certified by the Soil Association. At the time this was a huge risk, but ultimately the vines are in great shape, the fruit quality is second to none, and the wines show a depth of character that we believe could not be achieved with the use of chemicals in the vineyard and winery. The winery is at our East Sussex site in Rotherfield, capable of making 80,000 bottles of wine per year. Our own production is around 30,000 bottles, depending of the weather and crop yield each year. The vines are managed by Phil Harris, archaeology graduate, Plumpton graduate and enthusiast for hand weeding. Phil is one of the most knowledgeable vineyard managers in English organic wine. In the winery Will Davenport takes care of the wines. Will studied winemaking at Roseworthy Agricultural College in Australia, worked in the London wine trade and has done a variety of stints working in Alsace, California, Australia and the UK before setting up his own winery. Will also looks after the rest of the farm at Rotherfield which includes a small flock of Wiltshire Horn sheep, some bees and a lot of wildlife and woodland. The winery dog is called Marvin.