The Nyetimber estate is mentioned in the Doomsday Book but it wasn’t until 1986 that vines were first planted there. The current owner, Eric Heerema, has a vision for Nyetimber not only to produce the best English sparkling wine but also to rival the best in Champagne.
They now have 170 hectares of vines on eight sites in West Sussex and neighbouring Hampshire, planted on the chalk soil that comprises the Downs and reappears in Champagne. These vineyards are planted with only Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier and grapes are only ever used from their own vineyards. Harvesting is by hand, followed by fermentation in stainless steel and traditional secondary fermentation. Winemaker Cherie Spriggs, originally from Canada and with extensive winemaking experience there, and in New Zealand and Australia, is in charge of all key decisions from harvesting time through to blending and release dates. If grapes are not up to quality, they are not used – there is no 2012 vintage for this reason and as a result of this dedication to quality, Nyetimber is very much one of the leading English estates.