Chalk soils stretching from the Cliffs of Dover coupled with a comparatively warm and dry microclimate enables Denbies Estate to consistently produce a wide range of wine styles of exceptional quality and distinction. Denbies’ wines are produced from a variety of grapes suited to cool-climate wine production, including Bacchus, Ortega, Reichensteiner and Rondo as well as classic varieties such as Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Denbies sparkling wines are produced using the traditional method and ageing on the lees for complexity, whilst our still wines undergo gentle de-stemming and pressing, some oak ageing and malolactic fermentation for certain styles.
The Denbies Estate has been owned and run by the White family since 1984. Denbies vineyard was planted in 1986, and since then has become one of the largest wine producers in the UK. The estate lies in the heart of Surrey overlooking Box Hill, where Denbies produces an award-winning range of white, red and sparkling wines.
There is a considerable element of physical labour in the vineyard, throughout the year with both pruning and canopy management and in particular during harvest time (September-October). Certain areas of the vineyard can only be harvested by hand due to the slopes and access, plus certain varieties such as Pinot Noir are thinner skinned and therefore benefit from gentle hand-harvesting. During the harvest we have a team of around 30 pickers working. The mechanical picker is designed to handle the grapes carefully and shakes them gently from the vine to ensure berries aren’t damaged, so this is hugely important for us to enable picking at optimal ripeness alongside the hand-harvesting.
There is also extensive hands on activity in the winery, as the entire winemaking process takes place here at Denbies, from pressing the grapes, through to tank and barrel fermentation and the riddling, disgorging and bottling of the sparkling wines.
There are 15 different grape varieties grown here at Denbies; some names will be more familiar than others, but all benefit from the long, slow ripening season and microclimate of the estate.
Grown in The Flintpints, Yew Tree Field, The Hollow and Hillside, Chardonnay is a fundamental ingredient of our finest sparkling wines. A noble variety that oaks very well. It grows well with a consistent crop and is one of the last grapes to be harvested.
A green skinned variety grown in The Dell and the first commercial planting in the UK. Denbies Sauvignon Blanc produces a crisp, elegant and fresh style of wine with noticeable acidity, flavours of grass, nettles and some floral characters such as elderflower.
Often better known as Pinot Grigio. The Pinot Gris produces grey/blue grapes has good disease resistance and gives a deep colour and spicy aroma to wine with aromas of beeswax, melon and honeysuckle.
The first grape ever planted at Denbies and now grown in The Dell, Yew Tree Field, Greenfield and The Approach. This early ripening red variety is suitable for coolish climates. It is the classic grape for red Burgundy but is also an important element of sparkling wines in England.
A black grape planted in The Park and an essential constituent of the finest sparkling wines, along with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Pinot Meunier adds depth and fruitiness to our sparkling wine as well as floral aromas, and a precocious character (readiness-to-drink sooner).
Grown on the Park East slope, this grape produces good crops even in cooler years, and has effective disease resistance. It is often used for blending, is well suited to oak aging and is used for still or sparkling wines. Seyval Blanc produces wines with crisp acidity, some fresh apple flavours and is reminiscent of Chenin Blanc.
Planted in The Dell Rhondo produces wines with very good colour and delicate fruit. It blends well with other varieties (such as Dornfelder, Pinot Noir and Regent) and can be likened to a cross between Tempranillo and Syrah.
Another one of the new generation of hybrid varieties bred for wine quality and disease resistance. It produces wines with low acidity, high sugar levels and good yields. Regent wines have intense colour with moderate acidity, can and show aromas of cherries or blackcurrants.
A white grape variety which was created by Hermann Müller from the Swiss Canton of Thurgau in 1882. It is a crossing of Riesling with Madeleine Royale. It grows well in a cool moist climate, has good frost resistance and thrives in the part of the vineyard known as The Limes. Muller Thurgau forms the backbone of Surrey Gold.
Grown in The Brokes and Greenfield, Reichensteiner is a popular white variety in the UK. It ripens early, performs reliably, and is capable of producing large crops of grapes with light honeyed flavours. It is and is often used in blends for both still and sparkling wines.
Named after the god of wine, Bacchus has a fragrant, bouquet with some tropical fruit characters. Grown on a number of parcels on the estate, the different plots of Bacchus express the range of different terroirs found across the estate.
Named after Spanish poet and philosopher José Ortega y Gasset. Ortega produces powerfully scented wines which are floral and peachy in character. The grapes are full flavoured and have high natural sugars. It is also the grape used in Denbies Noble Harvest.
A newly planted variety Solaris is grown in The Dell, The Park and Chichester Road. Solaris has a good resistance against fungal attacks and is perfect for growing on the slopes which are hard to manage with machinery. It produces fruity and perfumed wines with aromas of banana and hazelnuts
A red grape planted in The Shambles, The Pond and The Dell, this dark skinned red grape variety grows well in cooler climates. It has a deep colour and a fruity nose, has a good balance of acidity and ages well.
Grown in The Park, this red grape variety is a ‘Teinturier’ ,a rare red variety with a coloured pulp. Dunkelfelder has intense fruitiness and a very deep, dark red colour