The hamlet of Hazel End has been part of the Gosling family estate for a couple of centuries which accounts for its unspoilt charm. Tudor farmhouses, thatched cottages, a pub, a pond and a cricket ground set the scene. The newer farm buildings are tucked away among the trees and, if you look carefully, you’ll see a suitably discreet sign about a vineyard.
The vines were planted from 1990 – actually other planting had occurred long before that – when the climate was cooler and people planted German vines because the French ones took longer to ripen. You’ll still find Muller Thurgau, Huxelrebe and Reichensteiner at the farm which, coupled with the age of the vines, makes this little vineyard rather special.
Only white grapes have been grown and the still wines have always been sold under the “Hazel End” label. The sparkling is called “Three Squirrels”. For the technically minded, the area under vines is now about 3 acres. It is around 73 m above sea level and the vines are planted in rows 2.44 m apart with 1.22m between the vines. They are all trained on the Double Guyot system.