Harrow & Hope
With a name like Laithwaite, Harrow & Hope winemaker Henry was probably destined to find success in the wine industry. Having spent vintages making wine in France and Australia, Henry and his wife Kaye started their first vineyard project at Chateau Verniotte in Castillon, Bordeaux. However, they knew that when the time came to start a family they wanted to be in the UK. Luckily for them it was becoming increasingly obvious that the chalk hills of England could produce superb sparkling wine, so the search for a site began.
They eventually found their perfect site on the rolling hills behind the Buckinghamshire town of Marlow. Here, in the Chiltern Hills the retreating River Thames has carved out a terroir ideally suited to the creation of world-class sparkling line, with steep slopes and large deposits of flint gravel, mixed into thick orange clay lying on top of the chalk. This is classic 'Thames Terroir' and exists all around the valley at various heights above sea level. Being quite central and away from the coast the vineyard experiences high summer day temperatures with cooler nights that preserve precious acidity in the fruit. However, the same flint rocks that make their single vineyard estate a dream for Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, also make it a nightmare to work and cultivate. After breaking not one but two harrows ploughing the site, the name "Harrow and Hope" was born.
Shunning conventional viticulture in favour of organic nutrition and forgoing herbicide usage is key to Henry's philosophy as he seeks to create sparkling wine with true character and individuality. In the winery individual plots are fermented separately in small stainless steel tanks to provide as many blending options as possible. Furthermore about 30% of the wines are aged in oak 'Bordelaise' barrels to give extra character and complexity to the final wines.
With blending consultation from Dr. Tony Jordan, the great Australian sparkling pioneer, famous for his work with Moët et Chandon setting up 'Green Point' and other sparkling wineries around the world, Harrow and Hope is fast becoming one of the UK's premier producers.