from vine to fine wine. Exquisite wine shared with friends, old and new
“Our passion is to produce fine 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 Sam are 5th generation farmers in Essex. The Family farm at Althorne has evolved over the years from a dairy herd producing milk sold locally, to an arable farm growing cereals, to today a Vineyard where wine made from our grapes is sold from the Cellar Door at the Wine Barn; Back in the day there was an Oyster Shack on the farm selling Oysters from the beds at Althorne Creek. Now we pair our Sparkling Crouch Ridge wines with local Oysters in our Café and on our Outdoor Terrace.”
Crouch Ridge vineyard is planted on gentle south facing slopes overlooking 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.
The marine influence in the spring reduces the risk of frost, the long hours of sunshine and the low autumn rainfall in the area allows for high quality grape crops that produce fantastic still and sparkling wines which are consistently winning awards regionally and nationally.
The vineyard is 15 acres planted with 3 classic cool climate grape varieties, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris. The first vines were planted in October 2010, this was a risk as we originally planned to plant in the late Spring but due to one of the longest droughts that year we kept the vines in cold storage and planted in the Autumn. Unfortunately these Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vines didn’t root properly and 99% died. We re-planted Oyster Shell Vineyard in May 2012, fortunately these Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vines survived and now produce some fantastic fruit. A further planting of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay clones for Sparkling and Still wines were planted in Foxes Vineyard in May 2015 and Swallow Vineyard and Paddocks Vineyard in May 2016. Due to the demand for Pinot Gris in England and our cooler climate which is ideal for Pinot Gris we decided to plant this variety in our Homeguard Vineyard in May 2020.
Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vines are suited to the climate, soil and aspect at Crouch Ridge Vineyard in the heart of the Crouch Valley Region. The characteristics of the area, ‘the terroir’ defines our fine wines, helping to make them balanced and unique. Chardonnay & Pinot Noir our two noble Champagne varieties were chosen specifically to produce top quality Sparkling wines. Our Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes are also grown to make fine Single Estate vintage Still wines.
We opened our Wine Barn in June 2019, here we showcase our fine wines, sample our wine before buying from our Shop or enjoy a wine tasting experience.
We say “come for the wine, stay for the view” as the raised terrace outside the Wine Barn allows visitors to enjoy the views of the Vineyard and Crouch Valley countryside overlooking the River. It is a lovely place to sit and relax with friends and family with a glass of local Crouch Ridge wine or cup of coffee; the on-site café serves food & drinks. Daily specials are prepared by our chef to complement our wines.
We are really excited to announce that August 2020 will see the limited first release of Crouch Ridge Vineyard’s 2018 Pinot Rose Sparkling Wine. A lovely English Sparkling wine traditionally made from our hand picked Pinot Noir grapes. 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 a component of sparkling wine and we are making a light Oaked Red Wine, a Salmon Pink Rose and a Rose Gold Pinot Rose Sparkling Wine.
Chardonnay – Pinot Noir are commonly blended together to produce sparkling wines around the world. The best cuvees are typically made in the traditional 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 suited to English cool-climate viticulture. Chardonnay adds texture with nutty and brioche flavours, and the Pinot adds its myriad aromas and red-fruit notes these are found in our Classic Cuvée Sparkling Wine
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 in the world. 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 and we are making an unoaked single varietal chardonnay and a sparkling Blanc de Blanc.