On November 23rd we were pleased to host Sible Hedingham Co-op’s Christmas tasting event for Locally Sourced Products. About 60 people passed through the Wine Centre that afternoon to taste a wide selection of products produced in East Anglia, all of which were delicious. Thanks to Lynn Warner and her team for organising the event and to the Sible Hedingham store staff for hosting their local clients at Toppesfield Vineyard.
We were delighted to be asked by the East of England Co-op to host a wine tasting event at the Framlingham Sausage Fest on October 13th. Peter and I gave a talk on growing grapes in East Anglia and our good friend Alison Curwood gave a presentation on English wines (including Toppesfield Bacchus and Rosé) and a range of Fairtrade wines supplied by the Co-op, the world’s largest Fairtrade wine retailer.
On 30th August we were invited by James Max to do a wine tasting and interview at 5.30 am (!) on his Business Breakfast show at the News Building, next to the Shard. James is such a great interviewer that he puts you at ease very quickly, even if it did feel rather strange to be drinking wine from plastic mugs at that unearthly hour of the morning…
July 13th Wine Centre Opening Event
Arrivals / Welcome with a Glass of Toppesfield Bacchus, Rosé or Toppesfield Beer
Official Opening of Toppesfield Wine Centre by Duncan McNeill, leading UK Viticulturist
13.30 or 14.30
Vineyard Tour by Duncan McNeill
13.30 or 15.30
Tutored Wine Tasting by Mary Mudd, International Wine Judge
‘Posh Pizza’ and Toppesfield Beers will be available to buy from 12.30
Vineyard Quiz, Tennis, Table Tennis & Boules
Price: Adults £15, 12 – 17 year olds £5, under 11s free of charge. Ticket’s available to buy via eventbrite.
Saturday 27th July Michael Ayrton lecture by his biographer, Justine Hopkins
Michael Ayrton is a famous neo-romantic artist, sculptor and writer who lived at Bradfields between 1951 and 1975. Bradfields had a special place in Ayrton’s life because it was in the 15th century barn studio that he produced many of his major works, including possibly his biggest personal triumph, the Arkville Minotaur.
Justine is Michael’s step-granddaughter. She spent a lot of her childhood at Bradfields when her mother was Michael Ayrton’s sculpture assistant. She now works as a freelance lecturer in Art History for the Victoria and Albert Museum; Bristol, London, Oxford and Cambridge Universities; the Tate, National and National Portrait Galleries; Sotheby’s, Christies’ and assorted independent institutions.
During her lecture, Justine will focus on the artworks produced at Bradfields during the 25 years that Michael lived there and, weather permitting, provide a tour of the studio and the gardens.
The Wine Centre houses a photographic exhibition of some of Ayrton’s works from when they were displayed in the gardens at Bradfields; our sincere thanks go to David Oelman at the Fry Gallery in Saffron Walden for his most generous assistance in pulling together our Ayrton exhibition.
Price: £25 including lecture, glass of wine and a light lunch
Tickets available via: [email protected]
We’re delighted to announce that Toppesfield Wines are now stocked by Majestic Wines in Braintree. Thanks to Martin and his amazing team.
We are also supplying 5 Co-op stores across Essex: Sible Hedingham, Halstead, Coggeshall, Earls Colne and Silver End. We have done a series of tastings in the Majestic and Coop Stores and are delighted with the positive feedback from staff and clients. You can view our stockist information here.
This comes after a fantastic harvest at the end of a summer which gave near perfect conditions for establishing our vines further. We’re now producing over 10 tonnes of high quality Bacchus and Pinot Noir grapes; we couldn’t have got this huge increase in production to New Hall winery on time without the help of so many friends and the use of Simon’s Hiab crane truck.
We were delighted to serve Toppesfield Bacchus during the private viewing of the Fry Gallery’s annual sale in November. This is a fantastic gallery on Castle Street in Saffron Walden and is home to the North West Essex Collection of paintings, prints, books and ceramics by artists who have lived in and around Great Bradfield and Saffron Walden. David Oelman has been so helpful with ideas, contacts and research for the photographic exhibition of Michael Ayrton works we will hold in Toppesfield Vineyard’s new Wine Centre (due to open April 2019). Many of Michael Ayrton’s sculptures were produced at Bradfields, his home and studio 1952 – 1975. It was great to meet the extended team at the Fry Gallery and to feel so welcome.
We also had a stand at the Three Wine Men’s Event at the Corn Exchange in Cambridge. The UK’s best loved wine experts Oz Clarke, Tim Atkin MW and Olly Smith hosted the event, talking to producers and visitors throughout the day. Toppesfield Vineyard exhibited on the GB Wine stand alongside our neighbours from West Street, Giffords Hall and Tuffon Hall, promoting the fantastic wines now available from Essex and Suffolk. Oz Clarke from the Three Wine Men said our 2016 Bacchus was an ‘impressive, firm, dry Bacchus. Less Aromatic but beautifully savoury.’ The timing of the recent Times article on Essex as a wine growing region was perfect and led to lots of new people sampling – and enjoying – our delicious wines. Thanks to everyone for your very positive feedback.
Last but not least we recently received delivery of our new, pre-printed gift boxes. The gold boxes are designed to hold 2 bottles (£2 per box) while the black boxes are for 3 bottles (£3 per box). We are delighted with how professional they look and believe they will make great all year presents/Christmas/corporate gift packs.
We’ve had a busy summer over at Toppesfield, with near perfect weather conditions we’re on target for a bumper crop of Bacchus and Pinot Noir. We also have some new awards and press features we’re proud to share…
We’re honoured to have won Wine of the Year from the East Anglian Vineyard Association for the second time for our Bacchus Reserve 2017 as well as a Silver for our 2017 Rosé. The winners were chosen from a record number of 73 entries. You can read more about the awards via the East Anglian Times here. The photo below is from the August edition of the National Grape Press magazine (sadly Pete was unable to attend the EAVA competition).
We were both able to attend the Sommelier Wine Awards stand at the Imbibe event at Olympia, following Toppesfield Vineyard winning one of the SWA’s four UK gold awards for our Bacchus Reserve 2016. It was so exciting to see our wine alongside other National Winners. You can learn more about the SWA and the tasting notes applied to Toppesfield wines here.
We’ve had an exciting start to 2018 with some fantastic news articles as well as new awards!
Wine expert Matthew Jukes rounded up the finest English wines for the Daily Mail. Toppesfield is in the final section ‘Other Counties’. You can read the full article here.
Aldermore Bank is dedicated to championing Britain’s go-getters, and we were honoured to be featured as their Go Getter of the Week. We chatted about how our vineyard started out, what inspires us and our proudest moment to date. You can read the full article here.
The results are just in from the Independent English Wine Awards (IEWA) and we are delighted to have been awarded a Silver medal for our 2016 Bacchus and a Bronze for our 2016 Pinot NoirRosé. With the awards already won from the UK and East Anglian Vineyard Associations and from Decanter, the IEWA competition is another affirmation of the excellence of our wines which we hope you will enjoy as much as we do.