‘No shortcuts – the key to making wine is patience’
A new brand of wine produced on the outskirts of Canterbury has just been born. Alex Claridge meets the family behind it
Good people. Making superb wines. In a beautiful location. Just outside Canterbury. Yes, that’s probably the best way to describe the Chartham Vineyard which this month celebrates the sales of its first wines – four years after the grapes were first planted.
The vineyard, which operates out of Burnt House Farm in Station Road, now forms part of a growing industry in southeast England and sits in a chain of wine producers stretching from Chichester in West Sussex and Godalming in Surrey to the Barnsole Vineyard near Staple in east Kent. Simpsons English Wine Estate at Barham joined last year while champagne producer Tattinger started to grow grapes at Chilham earlier this year.
This is no accident. The climate – warmer weather and low rainfall – and the geology combine to create suitable conditions to grow grapes. It is very much like the continental wine-producing regions.
But for the family behind the Chartham Vineyard, producing fine wines is just one element of its aspirations for the future.
The vineyard is the result of a vision by the Goodenoughs – father Richard, mum Roz and son Andy, who manages the vineyard on a day-to-day basis.
All have come to viniculture afresh from other professions, but have evidently taken up their new work with passion and commitment.
Richard, a retired University of Kent lecturer in geography and environmental science, says one of the vineyard’s aims is to establish itself firmly in the centre of village life.
“We value our role in the community and we are going to employ local people to help pick our grapes,” the 75-yearold said.
“Our first harvest of grapes was picked by family and friends last year. But the wider village of Chartham seems to have great interest in what we are doing.
“We are thinking about a cafe and having outdoor seating and displaying art in the barn. We are interested in combining wine with art and there are
Andrew Goodenough inspects the Chardonnay grapes