Prior to the Hampshire vineyard’s winery opening this month Rebecca Pitcairn was given a sneak peek
‘To make something great together’ was the goal of Zam Baring and his siblings Mark, Rose and Lucy, who just over a decade ago, decided to plant vines on the land they are custodians of at The Grange in Hampshire. The flinty south-facing slopes of Burge’s Field, near Itchen Stoke, have proved to be the perfect spot for the 50,000 plus vines of Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay to grow.
With their duo of sparkling wines – a classic white and pink rosé – which have picked up awards from Decanter, WineGB and the International Wine Challenge since their first release in 2014, they have already achieved their goal.
This month marked another milestone in their journey to greatness, with the opening of their new winery, just in time for harvest. The fruit of several years of thinking and the meeting of the minds of Zam, Timothy Hatton of Timothy Hatton Architects and The Grange’s head winemaker Harry Pickering (formerly of Gusbourne in Kent), the winery will enable production to move just 75 metres away from the vines. Previously the grapes had been sent to Coates and Seely in Whitchurch and, since 2015, to Emma Rice at Hattingley Valley Winery in Alresford.
The state-of-the-art winery, which Zam describes as ‘an elegant agricultural shed,’ abuts a chalk mound that will help to naturally cool the wines as they are stored and has the capacity to produce 50,000 bottles a year. However, plans have already been made to grow the winery over time to reach a 160,000 bottle capacity, allowing The Grange’s to move into the production of still wines and make wine under contract for growers across the country.
“It’s a really exciting time,” Zam says, as we taste the 2018 release of The Grange Pink in the heart of the winery. “For all of the team here but for Harry in particular, as he can finally get stuck into winemaking with the produce from his first harvest here.”
This second phase of the development will deliver the consumer-facing side of The Grange with a shop and restaurant featuring terrace overlooking some of the vines and surrounding countryside.
“We want it to become a real visitor experience,” adds Zam. “We already host tours of the vineyard but are now able to incorporate the winery and, in time, will be able to become more of a destination for visitors.”
Dates for their 2023 tours and tastings are yet to be released but, in the meantime,, Zam and his team will be at the Vineyards of Hampshire, Fairy Lights & Fizz event at Guildhall Winchester on December 9.