On the Trail

WISTON

Many people believe that a monk called Dom Perignon invented the method of producing sparkling wines in Champagne. However historical evidence shows the technique was actually invented in England. Some 30+ years before sparkling wine even appears in French history, English scholar Christopher Merret presented a paper on the topic to the Royal Society in 1662. That was 8 years before Dom Perignon travelled to Champagne, 20 years before the French made their first Sparkling wine and 60+ years before the first Champagne House was created. In fact English playwrights of the era were including references about the popularity of these wines in London decades before the word for sparkling wines (Mousseux) was even used in the French language.  The English also possessed the skills to create superior strength glass than the French thanks to their coal-fired kilns. This allowed them to contain the high pressures created during bottle fermentation. Another factor essential to the deliberate bottling of sparkling wines is that the English re-discovered the cork earlier than the French after the Romans use of cork was lost in the Dark Ages. 

Owned by the Goring Family since 1743, the magnificent country house of WIston has established a tiny 16 acre estate situated on a steep chalk escarpment in the South Downs of West Sussex. The estate is planted to Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier, and is entirely hand tended. The winemaker Dermot Sugrue uses only the finest handpicked clusters pressed in a traditional Coquard Press (one of only three outside of Champagne). The wines are pure, powerful and focused.