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History

We are proud of our history and how far our family has come in the last five decades. We are one of the pioneers of the industry and our experiments, experience and passion has, we hope, helped encourage or energise others who have joined our craft.

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Celebrating 50 Years

2022 sees Bolney Wine Estate reach a milestone that we are sincerely proud of – 50 years of pioneering winemaking. Join us as we take a look at Bolney through the years, from the start of something very special in 1972 to today.  As we look back, we’re so proud of everything we’ve achieved, and looking forward, we’re excited for everything to come.

FOUNDATION

1970s

Bolney’s story began in 1972 when owners and founders Janet and Rodney Pratt purchased the land and began their vineyard journey, first establishing the land under the original name of Bookers Vineyard. The land was then prepared ready to plant our very first vines. In 1973 the first 1,000 vines were planted across three acres to create what was then only the sixth commercial vineyard in England, these vines were Muller Thurgau variety, which produced a floral white wine. Fast forward to 1977 and we had planted our second vineyard block. With a total of 2,000 vines overall.

EARLY YEARS

1980s

Experimental vines were planted in 1983 to see what would grow here at Bolney, these included Pinot Noir and Chardonnay along with six other varieties. The Pinot and Chardonnay proved to be a huge success. In 1985 we won our first award – a coveted Silver medal in the IWSC – for our ‘Bolne 1983’ white wine.

Expansion

1990s

In 1995, Sam Linter, Rodney and Janet’s daughter, joined the business full time taking over the reins and started a growth and quality improvement plan from which we can now see the results. Later in the 90’s, in 1998 we made our very first red wine, this was a blended red wine, our hero Pinot Noir was to come later.

A NEW MILLENIUM

2000s

In 2002 we started to plant our Eighteen Acre Vineyard, which is an excellent site for vines, due to its south facing slope, sandstone soils and height of 35 metres above sea level. Following Sam’s growth and quality improvement plan, we built our first proper winery in 2005 which was officially opened by the then Secretary of State for DEFRA, the Rt Hon. Margaret Beckett MP.  This new winery was made possible thanks to DEFRA who supported the build with a grant.

A STEP FORWARD

2010s

Diving in-to the Teens, we have seen some great things for our vineyard over the past decade. In 2012 we won ‘UK Wine Producer of the Year’ as well as Gold for our ‘Blanc de Blancs 2007’ in the International Wine and Spirit Competition. In 2015 our Pinot Gris became the first ever English Wine to be served at Wimbledon. The following year in 2016 we opened our doors to our visitors centre with a new café, shop and stunning viewing balcony. In 2017 we won ‘Winery of the Year’ and Gold again in the United Kingdom Vineyard Association Competition. And in 2019 we had the pleasure of welcoming HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, who officially opened our new state-of-the-art winery.

CELEBRATING 50 YEARS

2022

Sam Linter says, “As we look back, we’re so proud of everything we’ve achieved, and looking forward, we’re excited for everything to come. 50 years means a lot to us as a family, and as we reflect on our journey, we can only say thank you for the immeasurable support our colleagues, community, supporters and extended Bolney family have given us. My parents would have been thrilled to see that the seed they planted so many decades ago has grown into something so special.  Cheers to 50 years!”

2022 is set to be a very big year for us and we are delighted to announce that Bolney Wine Estate has been acquired by Freixenet Copestick. We see this as an exciting new opportunity, which will uncover a new chapter for Bolney Wine Estate and give us the ability to grow and develop our brand to bring Bolney to a wider audience nationally and internationally.