Making our Dream a Reality… Crouch Ridge 

from vine to fine wine. Exquisite wine shared with friends, old and new

Ross and Samantha Lonergan’s love of wine and the Countryside inspired them to plant Crouch Ridge Vineyard in the beautiful village of Althorne Essex overlooking the river Crouch.

“Our passion is to produce good quality, balanced wine from grapes grown in our vineyard. Good wines bring people together, we are excited about our wine; to us it is about sharing it with friends, old and new.”
Both Ross and Samantha are from farming families and are 5th generation farmers in Essex. Ross has an Agricultural degree and a working background in Agriculture and Management. Samantha has a MSc in Sustainable Tourism and a background in Business. Both have WSET level 2 qualifications.
The Family farm at Althorne has evolved over the years from dairy to beef to arable; at one time there was an Oyster Shack on the vineyard, selling Oysters from the beds at Althorne Creek . In the last ten years the farm has diversified into tourism with holiday accommodation and recreation in response to the increase in rural tourism and diverse range of activities and attractions in the area.

The Vineyard

Crouch Ridge vineyard is planted on gentle south facing slopes overlooking Althorne Creek and the River Crouch. The soil is predominately clay with mineral deposits; the long hours of sunshine and relatively low rainfall in the area make it an ideal location for growing vines.
Global Warming has created these longer periods of dry spells, mild winters and hot summers which are fantastic for growing grapes with naturally high acidity and low sugar levels, perfect for making top quality still and sparkling wine.
The vineyard is 10 acres planted with 2 classic cool climate grape varieties, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The first 2700 vines on 2 ½ acres of the vineyard were planted in May 2012, with a further planting of 5200 vines on 4 acres in May 2015 and 4700 vines on 3 ½ acres in May 2016.
Pinot Noir and Chardonnay were planted at Crouch Ridge Vineyard because these varieties are suited to the climate, soil and aspect at Althorne.  The characteristics of the area, ‘the terroir’ defines our wine, making it balanced and unique. These two Champagne varieties were chosen specifically because we aim to produce a top quality Pinot Noir/Chardonnay Sparkling Wine within our range of Crouch Ridge wines.

The Plan

The aim is to grow and produce fine wines and combine it with good, local food & a lovely place to sit and relax with friends and family overlooking the Vineyard and River.

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Our Grapes & Wine

We are really excited to announce that Spring 2017 will see the limited first release of Crouch Ridge Vineyard’s 2015 Classic Cuvée. a lovely English Sparkling wine traditionally made from 2 noble varieties, Chardonnay & Pinot Noir grapes hand picked from our first harvest.
What could be better than enjoying a chilled glass of beautiful English Sparkling Wine on a sunny day.

Pinot Noir has along, noble history and eager following as it produces some of the world’s greatest wines. It seems to works well in England when conditions are favourable. Due to its thin skin, the wine it produces here are often light coloured with soft cherry, berry fruit flavours. It Is another component of sparkling wine.

ChardonnayPinot Noir are commonly blended together to produce sparkling wines around the world. The best cuvees are typically made in the Champagne method (where the second fermentation is done in the bottle so the excess carbon dioxide doesn’t escape). Grapes used in sparkling Chardonnay – Pinot Noir wines are picked earlier than those used in still wines to maximise acidity; the style is therefore suited to English cool-climate viticulture. Chardonnay adds texture and nutty and brioche flavors, and Pinot adds its myriad aromas and red-fruit notes.

Chardonnay is one of the most planted grapes in the world, thanks to its versatility and ability to take on a range of flavours and characteristics, depending on where it is grown. Due to this country’s cooler climate it has citrusy, green-apple flavours. It is an important component of sparkling wine yet shows great promise in this country as an elegant still wine.