MARCH 26th 2021
Characterised by its wide valleys, stunning countryside and of course, the presence of the iconic British landmark – Stone Henge – Wilshire is a somewhat underrated gem of the European wine scene.
Nestled in South West England, surrounded by counties such as Dorset, Somerset, Oxfordshire and Berkshire, 40% of Wiltshire is classed as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. With a temperate climate, scours of open space and the fertile soils of the Avon Valley, it is not surprising therefore that vineyards blossom in this vibrant county.
As our family home since 1894, we obviously know how enchanting this pocket of the British countryside can be. The purpose of this article is to celebrate that with you.
Why the Wiltshire Climate & Geology are perfect for wine production
Wiltshire has a lot to thank the River Avon for. The river is thought to contain more species of fish than any other in Britain – a testament to its fertility that the river brings to the Wiltshire fields and arable land that surrounds it.
Not only that, but much of the county sits on an underlying bedrock of permeable limestone. This chalky rock base is perfect for growing Rondo, Bacchus, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris – hence why these varieties form the basis of all of our wines here at Whitehall Vineyard. In fact, the bedrock in the county is not too dissimilar from the Champagne region of France, which bodes well for Wiltshire vineyards for obvious reasons.
The climate of Wiltshire also benefits the wine-maker. Comparatively more moderate with less extreme swings from season to season, Wiltshire vineyards are typically more protected from harsh weather conditions than other British counties.
The history of Wiltshire Wine
Wiltshire has a long wine-producing history, dating back centuries.
Wiltshire vineyards are known to have existed as long ago as Norman times, so the county’s credentials in the English wine industry are nothing new.
The Domesday Book, the extensive survey carried out in 1086 on the orders of William the Conqueror, even notes the prominence of vineyards in Wiltshire at villages such as Tollard Royal and Lacock.
Our Wiltshire Whitehall Vineyard
Our family home for five generations, Whitehall Farm has been a thriving base for our high-quality horticultural endeavours for over a century – dating back as far as 1894! Given the area’s rich soil and the ideal underlying bedrock of permeable limestone, it seemed a natural expansion to establish our own vineyard. We did back in 2017 with the support of a small team of vine planters, and have never looked back since!