Bolney  Producer Profile

Producer Profile Bolney Estate

Wednesday, January 15, 2020 - 14:30

We are super proud to be wine partner to Englands Bolney’s estate. Their story began in 1972 when, Janet and Rodney Pratt planted three acres of vines to create what was then only the sixth commercial vineyard in England. Sam Linter, Rodney and Janet’s daughter, took over the reins in the mid-1990s. Under Sam’s leadership, she introduced winemaker Alex Rabagliati who’s knowledge and expertise moved the winery forward and created award-winning wines. The Estate specialises in producing premium red, white, rose and sparkling English wines that have won numerous awards, and gained lots of fans, all over the world.

The Estate is located on the edge of the South Downs, about 14 miles from the UK’s south coast, and comprises of five unique vineyard sites, all of which bring their own unique characteristics that capture the English countryside ‘terroir’ These wines are exceptional and living proof that English wines are of world class quality

We're offering a 10% discount on all wines from Bolney to support this feature, this is a brilliant opportunity to find your favourite from this incredible English winery.

We hope you have fun exploring !



1. How did you get started as a wine producer ?

I started in wine retail, and was able to visit some wineries in Spain which really gave me the production bug. I knew about the Plumpton College courses through a friend so took the plunge and retrained. After that it was the usual – travelling around the world working in different regions until Bolney gave me a shot at something permanent.

2. Do you have a favourite grape variety to work with, and why?

 Definitely Chardonnay. Lovely looking bunches, and it’s a variety you can work with in any number of ways and still get great results. I’m a big Blanc de Blancs fan as well, which helps.

3. What’s the most challenging part of your job ?

Trying to plan long-term production targets in a part of the world where yield is so variable and unpredictable.

4. What is the most rewarding part of your job ?

Disgorging the first bottle of a sparkling wine batch. There’s a bit of tension in the air – I imagine it’s a bit like opening the oven on a soufflé, albeit with a much higher success rate.

5. Who do you most admire in the wine world ?

Jacob Law down in Margaret River was a big influence, but I wouldn’t say I had any heroes. I’m full of admiration for the vintage staff who seem to have limitless energy and enthusiasm no matter how deep into the harvest jungle we are.

6. What does the word ‘terroir’ mean to you and how does it relate to the wines you produce ?

To me, it means having an influence at every stage of the process, from site selection to labelling the thing. But to be honest it’s not a word that I bust out very often.

7. How do you practice sustainability and what is it’s importance to you ?

We’ve been growing vines here for nearly 50 years, which for the English industry is a pretty long time, and we intend to be here longer still. We don’t have limitless pockets so for us it’s not a case of splashing out on the most all-singing-all-dancing solution but rather of finding gains wherever we can. We’ve adopted additive cold-stabilisation methods and juice flotation to minimize power usage in the winery, and have had solar panels installed which produce enough power to run our disgorging and labelling operation. We’ve just introduced sheep into the vineyard, to reduce mechanized under-vine maintenance. We use very lightweight boxes and are able to re-use about 25% of them as we sell so much through cellar-door. I sit on the WineGB Environmental Sustainability Working Group, which is tasked with developing guidelines for the UK industry, so we have to practice as we preach.

8. What role does family play within your business?

A massive role. Sam is our MD, and she’s the daughter of the founder, Rodney, who still lives a stone’s throw from the vineyard. There’s three generations working here, so family is everywhere you look!

9. Which wines were on your table last Christmas ?

Our Blanc de Blancs 2013, Sarget de Gruaud Larose ’05 (corked unfortunately), a Brunello, I think, but I forget exactly what.

10. If you were a wine…… write a short tasting note that best describes you?

My wife says I’m bubbly, fruity and rounded – I don’t know what to make of that to be honest!