West Sussex, England
Stopham Estate is the brainchild of Simon Woodhead, who began his career as an engineer designing parts for Formula 1 cars. Simon established Stopham Estate in 2007, when he planted six hectares of predominantly Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc near Pulborough in West Sussex. He vinifies all his wines in a small winery located in a converted barn on the estate.
Stopham is known locally for its ancient buildings that were recorded in the Domesday Book. The main challenges in the vineyard are the deer that roam the parkland (Simon’s first job was to fence the vineyard to protect the vines from damage) and, unsurprisingly, the weather. Simon practises sustainable farming and is aided by the south-facing vineyards, which maximise sun exposure and ripening, as well as the proximity of the Stopham farm animals, which provide organic fertiliser to boost the sandy soils.
Simon’s Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc, like his pristine winery, are pure and precise, and in our opinion some of the best still wines made in England. We are pleased to be listing his excellent ‘Brut’, a sparkling wine which completes the range. The 2017 vintage, a blend of 70% Chardonnay and 30% Pinot Noir, spent 26 months on lees before disgorgement and displays a delicate, honeyed brioche character, enlivened by subtle grapefruit and citrus freshness.