Redfold Vineyards are situated overlooking West Sussex’s beautiful South Downs, with Ambriel being made from grapes grown on what used to be a hill used for grazing sheep. Owner Wendy Outhwaite, former barrister and QC, strives to produce wines which reflect the particular characteristics of their soil and climate, or ‘terroir’.
Charles and Wendy built their own state of the art winery adjacent to the vineyard, to which the grapes are taken immediately after being picked. Unusually, Redfold only vinify grapes that they have grown, and don’t have any contract winemaking in order to offset their start-up costs. The wines really are solely from the South Downs.
Redfold concentrate on sparkling wines, as is typical of many of the English wine producers, using the Traditional Method and produced from the classic champagne grape varieties of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. They may be fairly new to the English wine world, but Redfold have already won silver at the IWC awards, perhaps due to the fact that, in their own words, ‘our wines are unapologetically English – and they taste divine!’
The view south to the Downs from Wendy and Charles Outhwaite’s vineyards is idyllic — but that can’t hide the sheer hard work that has gone into their first bottles of Ambriel, released this month. Even on a sunny site such as this one in Sussex, getting grapes to ripen in our climate is always touch and go. Despite such challenges, English sparkling wines — most, such as Ambriel, made from the champagne grapes of pinot noir, chardonnay and pinot meunier — are on a roll at present. They’re not cheap but the best are very good and quality is improving — and the ambition of producers such as the Outhwaites is inspiring. Andrew Neather, The Evening Standard (Jun 2013)