The Wiston Estate has been owned and managed by the Goring family since 1743. Its 6,000 acres straddle the chalky slopes of the South Downs and the flat clay soils of the Weald.
Sussex beef herds, grazing sheep and arable crops have been part of the Estate's landscape for centuries, but it was not until Pip Goring's arrival in 1972 that a vineyard was considered. Having grown up in Cape Town, the site of mountains and rows of vines had become a familiar one and she dreamed of seeing this in her new home of Sussex.
Husband Harry took some convincing however, and it wasn't until 2006 that the first vines were finally planted. It proved an instant success. In the words of Harry Goring: "No one seemed particularly interested in hundreds of acres of barley and wheat but plant 16 acres of vineyard and people are fascinated".
Planted with only the traditional Champagne varieties (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier) the vineyard is sited on a periglacial dry river valley on Upper Cretaceous Chalk, which closely resembles the physical and chemical composition of the world renowned CÃ´te de Blancs in Champagne. There are no herbicides sprayed on the soil, which enables the microbiological activity to thrive, and a "boisselet" (mechanical hoe) is used to keep the weeds under control.
The traditional Coquard press used at Wiston is one of only four outside of France and is unique to the UK. Its large surface area and exceptionally gentle pressing enables extraction of the very highest quality juice. With such high quality juice on hand, a minimum intervention approach is taken in the winemaking process so the wine can best reflect its vineyard's origin. Winemaking has been headed up by Dermot Sugrue who has been at Wiston since its inception - having previously been head winemaker at their renowned Sussex neighbours Nyetimber.