Brightwell Vineyard's current owners, Bob and Carole Nielsen, bought a property in the year 2000 and discovered they had inherited a small parcel of vines with it, planted in the late 1980s. This inspired them. Today Brightwell Vineyard produces red, white, rosé and sparkling wines of high acclaim.
Brightwell Vineyard is located near Wallingford, eight miles south of Oxford in the Thames and Chiltern region. They are one of 25 wineries in the region. The Thames and Chiltern Association was formed in 1988 as support for viticulturists and winemakers covering the countries of: Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Herefordshire, Hampshire, Dorset, Northamptonshire, Surrey and Greater London. Bob is the Chairman and UKVA Representative.
The estate, winery and vineyards are just south of the River Thames. Sheltered by the Chiltern Hills, Cotswolds and South Downs the vineyards are some of the warmest and driest in England. Soils are chalk, green sandstone and gravel. Carole and Bob care for 16 hectares of vines of 10 varieties including Dornfelder, Pinot Noir, Bacchus, Chardonnay, and Huxelrebe.
Bob, Carole and their team work as 'natural' and minimal intervention winemakers. Their white and rose wines are fermented and matured (if desired) in stainless steel and their reds spend 12 months in oak post fermentation. The white wines are clean and fresh in style and make excellent summer quaffers; the aromatic Bacchus working beautifully when accompanied with British lactic goats cheese. The Oxford Regatta is a little more serious with purple and black fruit flavours and structured tannin - a real winner with some seasonal Cotswold lamb!
Brightwell Vineyard has a reputation for consistently producing quality red wines. Over the past 20 years Bob and Carole have won awards in national, international and regional challenges including the Decanter World Wine Awards and the UK Vineyards Awards. In addition to wine, the Nielsens produce a brandy which apparently is well worth a sip or two!