Gusbourne Estate takes its name from its erstwhile owner in 1410, John de Goosebourne, whose coat of arms depicting three geese and a dry bourne still hangs from the beams in the Norman church of Appledore village. Over the centuries, the spelling (and pronunciation) of the estate name mutated to “Gusbourne”.
In 2004, when founder Andrew Weeber planted the first vines on Gusbourne Estate’s coastal escarpment in Kent, in the far South-Eastern corner of England, he had a clear vision and a single goal: to create English sparkling wines that would stand up alongside the very finest offerings from across the globe. They have had their sights set on perfection ever since.
Focusing on just the classic grape varieties of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier, Gusbourne ensures the highest quality by growing all their own fruit; everything used to produce their wines is sourced solely from estate vineyards.
Those vineyards are blessed with a very special terroir: Wealden clay-loam soils combined with one of the driest and warmest climates in England enables Gusbourne to be one of the first to harvest in the country every year, while their proximity to the sea provides a distinctive salty tang to the wines.
These privileged growing conditions allow Gusbourne to make wines that are exclusively vintage, something very unusual in England. Each vintage is a unique expression of its growing season, and as a result, presents an authentic reflection of a particular time and place.
The vines are tended with great care and attention to the environment, using only organic fertilizers, and over half of the vines planted are Burgundian (rather than Champagne) clones. This means that they produce lower yields (brought lower still by green harvests every year), but the resultant fruit is riper and has significantly more flavor, making their grapes ideal for the production of fine wines.
Gusbourne’s Traditional Method sparkling winemaking is a slow and measured process that reflects an uncompromising quest for quality and a fastidious approach to detail. Strict, self-imposed parameters are employed (such as separating the free run and the tail pressings, and only using the juice from the heart of the pressing cycle) to maintain exacting standards and keep intervention to an absolute minimum, ensuring the best expression of their wines each and every year.
Gusbourne is the only three-time winner of the International Wine & Spirits Challenge English Wine Producer of the Year – having won the award in 2013, 2015 and 2017. They are the proud recipients of over 200 awards at international competitions, and were awarded 23 gold medals and 8 trophies in 2019 alone.
I didn’t just believe we could make exceptional English Sparkling wine. I knew we could make wine that would stand up to the best in the world.