The vineyard, comprising 18 acres of free draining "flinty" soil and overlaying chalk, is situated on a south west facing slope to maximise the sunshine available during the summer months.
The first vines were planted in 1972 and are trained in a wide row and tall trellised system. This allows a larger leaf area to be exposed to the sunlight and the roots to spread widely in the generous soil space. This system of vine management ultimately intensifies the sweetness of the grapes. The local microclimate enables the fruit to ripen to the optimum sugar and acidity levels.
Good air flow between the vines is essential to prevent disease, and with the help of our resident and plentiful ladybird population we are able to avoid the use of insecticides. Some herbicides are used occasionally to clear the weeds that grow underneath the vines. Fungicides are also used, though this is kept to a minimum and the regime is varied to suit the conditions of the seasons.
The vine varieties grown include Müller-Thurgau, Ortega, Schönburger, Reichensteiner, Siegerrebe, Rondo, Regent, Dornfelder, Pinot Noir ideal for the intensity of flavour we require but also for good early cropping before the autumn months and the unpredictable weather conditions. While winter frosts are not a particular threat to the vines which are dormant during this time, frost occurring in late spring may cause significant damage.
The wine making process
Excellence of grape quality is a priority at Chilford Hall. To this end, the grapes are hand harvested and transferred immediately to the dedicated, former farm buildings which now house the winery. The vinification process, i.e. the pressing., fermentation, blending and bottling takes place on the estate under the expert management of our wine maker to ensure strict quality control during each phase.
The selection and blending of the wine varieties usually takes place three to four months after the grapes have been harvested. After blending choices are made the wine is allowed to rest for approximately six weeks prior to bottling.
Chilford Hall wine is characterised by clean flavour, fragrant nose, fruity body and good acidity. A single estate range of award winning wines of the finest quality and distinction.