The estate was established in 2005 by Howard and Jenny Corney. The business is a real family affair - with Howard conducting the vineyard tours and his son Hugo making the wines. 17 acres are under vine at Ditchling in East Sussex in the lea of the South Downs where the geology is the same as Champagne; the chalk of the Downs runs under the English Channel all the way down to Champagne, but the Sussex climate is more Maritime. After a short spell of being owned by the crown, the estate became known as Court Garden as under the dissolution of the monasteries the lands of Lewes Priory were confiscated. Hugo makes a range of superb sparkling wines, all hand-crafted in the Traditional Method which undergo long bottle ageing. They grow the traditional champagne grape varieties of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay and, unusually, also Pinot Précose, an early ripening form of Pinot Noir, and also the rare historic champagne varieties of Arbanne and Petit Meslier. Their stunning Ditching Reserve [now called Quartet], is composed of a large proportion of barrel aged wines. Rondo, Pinot Gris, Ortega and Pinot Blanc are also grown to produce a line of still wines. The intricate design on their labels was designed by John Vernon Lord who, amongst other things, did the illustrations for Aesop’s Fables. He lives in the village of Ditchling and famously hates wasps. The collar label has a wasp on one end and a sheep on the other; the sheep acknowledges that the estate is a working sheep farm as well as a vineyard. Also the sheep should cover the wasp – but as all these labels are put on by hand, sometimes there are a few mistakes! These wines are multi-awarded: two prestigious International Wine Challenge trophies, as well as gold medals in 50 Great Sparking Wines of the World, the International Wine Challenge, the International Wine & Spirit Competition, UK Vineyards Association and Sommelier Wine Awards!
These are absolutely dazzling examples of English Sparkling Wines!