You are currently viewing The English Wine Diaries Episode 22 Julian and Tom Barnes

The English Wine Diaries Episode 22 Julian and Tom Barnes

The father and son duo talk about creating their newest sweet wine at Kent’s Biddenden Vineyard

Today my guests on The English Wine Diaries podcast are father and son Julian and Tom Barnes from Biddenden Vineyard in Kent.

Originally an apple orchard, Biddenden has been owned and run by the Barnes family since 1969. Today it remains very much a family affair with Julian, Tom and his brothers, Will and Sam dealing with the day to day management of the vineyard and winemaking process under the watchful eye of their father, who continues to walk the vines every day.

Recently, the vineyard reached another milestone with the release of its ground-breaking Ortega Late Harvest 2018, made from what is believed to be the sweetest grape must ever recorded in the UK.

“Each year we have to approach harvest with different ideas because we do not know what the weather is going to do,” explains Julian. ‘Who would have known when we started that harvest that the weather would have been so good that we could pick in August yet we had seven weeks until we had to pick so that made us think about what else could be achieved.”

We talk about why their signature grape, Ortega, has stood the test of time, how the English wine industry has ‘grown up’ over the past 50 years and plans for yet more trailblazing at this pioneering vineyard.

Biddenden’s shop is open year round while guided and self-guided tours of the vineyard are available from April to September and April to November respectively. You can follow Biddenden on Instagram @biddendenvineyard and facebook @BiddendenVineyard or visit for more information. 

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