His family-run organic vineyard is situated next to Silent Pool near the village of Albury, Surrey
Images: Jonathan Blackham
First things first, what are you drinking?
Well it’s 9am in the morning and even I don’t start that early! But my favourite early evening drink at the moment is our English Vermouth served with ice topped up with some of our fizz and a twist of orange.
Tell us about your wine journey – how did you come to own a vineyard?
I’d always dreamt of owning a vineyard. When I was 17 I won the school economics prize and chose the World Atlas of Wines and Spirits for the headmaster to present to me on speech day – he wasn’t amused!
What was the inspiration behind Albury Organic Vineyard?
We found the ideal site on the southern slopes of the North Downs close to my home near Guildford. It’s south facing, well drained and the soil is clay on chalk, similar to much of Champagne. Why organic? Well I felt that protection of our environment was really important and I believe that an organic approach produces great fruit and therefore great wine.
What sets you apart from other vineyards in the South East?
Our main USP is that we are organic but we also focus on giving visitors a great time when they visit us. It’s not just the wine it’s the whole experience that makes a difference. My daughter, Lucy, has a great slogan: “Children, dogs and muddy boots welcome”.
What should visitors/fans of Albury be looking out for in the coming months?
We’ve just released our Silent Pool Rosé and it’s already nearly sold out! Soon we will be releasing Linda’s Pinot. It’s a dry white wine made from Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir and we only made 240 bottles so it will be a limited release only for sale at the vineyard. Hopefully we will soon be able to open the vineyard again for visitors.
Where’s your favourite place to drink wine?
Undoubtedly at the top of our vineyard where the views of the Surrey Hills are spectacular.
Favourite person/people to drink wine with?
I guess I should say Linda, my wife, and I have lovely memories of drinking various wines together all around the world. But I always learn so much when tasting wines with our winemaker, Matthieu of Litmus wines. On the odd occasion I have tasted wines with Oz Clarke who is great fun.
What’s your favourite wine memory?
What wine has surprised you the most?
I’ve been amazed recently at the quality of some English still wines. I’m a big fan of the Litmus Pinot Noir and the Chapel Down Kit’s Coty Chardonnay which are comparable to some really good Burgundy’s.
What’s your favourite wine and food combo?
John Mobbs from Great British Wine has taken our Albury Estate Blanc de Blancs and paired it with a simple asparagus, goat’s cheese and walnut salad, which is delicious.
Finally, if you could only drink one wine for the rest of your life, what would that be?
It would have to be our Silent Pool Rosé!
Albury Organic Vineyard, Silent Pool, Shere Road, Albury, Surrey GU5 9BW