When Simon Bladon bought Jenkyn Place in 1997, winemaking hadn’t even crossed his mind. The property entrepreneur and Rebecca, his wife, chose our Hampshire estate as the beautiful setting in which they wanted to raise their family.
But when Simon attended a furniture auction in 2003 and was handed a glass of English sparkling wine for the first time, his outlook changed. He may not have bought any furniture at the auction, but instead he headed straight home and began laying plans to plant vines in the old hop fields next to his house.
Jenkyn Place is now a family affair, with Camilla – Simon and Rebecca’s daughter – managing the business, and Freddie and Jack, their sons, lending a hand when needed. Our plans for the future include building a wine warehouse on the estate, so more bottles can slumber and mature among the vines.
“Returning home to the heart of Hampshire is a dream come true,” smiles Camilla. “With the launch of our 2013 vintage, I’ve redesigned our packaging to give our wine the quality and contemporary look that it deserves.”
A PLACE OF HISTORY
While the history of Jenkyn Place may stretch back to the 17th century, our roots as a top-quality wine estate have a much more contemporary story to tell.
1997: Simon and Rebecca Bladon and their children – Camilla, Freddie and Jack – moved to Jenkyn Place in Hampshire.
2004: The first Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier vines were planted in the former hop fields, with their then estate workers, Steve Williams and Stewart Sandy, moonlighting as vineyard managers
2006: The first grapes were harvested and turned into English sparkling wine.
2007: Further vines were planted.
2010: A final batch of vines were planted, taking Jenkyn Place up to its capacity of 15,000 vines.
2011 and 2012: A lack of good-quality grapes meant no Jenkyn Place sparkling wines were produced.
2013: High-quality grapes were harvested to produce the current 2013 vintage wine.
2017: The 2013 vintage brut cuvee goes on sale.
“Jenkyn Place wasn’t my first foray into the wine trade,” Simon reveals. “When I was running Bladon Lines Travel in the 1980s, we created two wines for our alpine ski chalets, using our firm’s parrot logo as a play-on-words for ‘Parrot Claret’ and a white called ‘Parrot Fin’, which we pronounced ‘paraffin’ and that wasn’t too far from the truth! Our English sparkling wines are of a much more serious quality – but hopefully we’ve still got that same sense of humour,” he chuckles.