Gusbourne Estate: Embracing Tradition and Innovation in the Heart of English Wine Country

ByAndrea Thompson

April 12, 2024

Dating back to the 15th century on fertile soils the vision of Gusbourne into a winery began in 2003.  Andrew Weeber, a retired orthopaedic surgeon from South Africa, recognized the potential of the estate for grape growing.

In 2004 he planted the first Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vines, which marked the start of the journey into winemaking. Originally called ‘Gooseborne’, from the crest of the three geese, this symbol is still evident today in their logo.

This area is perfect as has firm clay-loam soil, coastal winds bringing dryness which allows the grapes to develop their intense flavours and ideal for producing sparkling wines.  The Estate also has a commitment to low-intervention, sustainable practices which further enhances the quality of the grapes.

Gusbourne has risen to prominence as the most decorated producer of English sparkling wine, securing the title of IWSC English Wine Producer of the Year three times. Guided by the expert supervision of Jon Pollard, the Chief Vineyard Manager, a dedicated team of nine meticulously tends to the vineyards. They handpick only the finest fruit and employ gentle whole-bunch pressing techniques. The meticulous care extends through every stage—from fermentation to blending, aging, bottling, and labelling, down to the hand polishing of each bottle. It’s this unwavering commitment to excellence that has earned Gusbourne its award-winning reputation.

The Estate’s heart beats in Appledore, Kent, a mere 25 mins train journey from central London, where 60 hectares of vineyards flourish, and extends to the 30 hectares near the Goodwood Estate in West Sussex. It is here that the esteemed Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier grapes are cultivated. These Burgundian clones are renowned not for their quantity but for the rich intensity of flavour they impart, thriving within their unique microclimates.

Visiting the Gusbourne Estate offers a sensory experience that extends beyond wine tasting. Enjoy the “Garden of England” surrounded by picturesque vineyards.  The Estate offers self-guided strolls among the vines or expert-led tours.  We had Peter whose passion and knowledge was enthralling and of course tastings.  The buds were just waking up when we visited but next month they would have started to shoot and weave themselves through the guide wires.  With rosebushes planted at the end of each row, the colour identifying the type of grape growing. An Instagram dream when both are in full bloom.

The Estate’s rich history and its success in winemaking are a testament to the vision of those who have nurtured it with meticulous care and passion that shows in every bottle.