1972: Where the Bolney Wine Estate story began
Rodney and Janet Pratt were pioneers of their time and all that Bolney is today is testament to their grit and determination to go against the grain to fulfil their vision. Rodney, a chemical engineer who continued his professional career in the rubber industry alongside his vine growing, describes how he came to discover his passion for winemaking during placement at Gutenberg University, ‘We spent most of our six months in the vineyards of Louis Guntrum. He was the person who showed us all, there was a difference between Niersteiner Domtal, Liebfraumilch and Mateus rosé and real wine.’
Back on British soil, Rodney had a vision. “I had this marvellous idea – let’s go and find somewhere to live that’s got a few acres of ground and we can plant a vineyard, and I shall retire at 45.” With Janet’s support, they purchased a run-down smallholding, on the outskirts of the village of Bolney, north-west of Burgess Hill – and over 50 years transformed the Estate into what it is today.