On discovering the gentle, South-facing slopes just outside the market town of Saffron Walden, Paul Edwards, owner of Saffron Grange, worked with specialist consultants to analyse the soil.
This work revealed the land, when combined with the unique climate and topography of the region, was perfectly suited to growing grapes for truly premium quality sparkling wines.
The vineyard sits on the same chalk seam that runs all the way from Northern France’s renowned wine regions, up through Sussex and into Essex.
100 million years ago, the land was deeply submerged by tropical seawater teaming with macroscopic, calcareous algae and shellfish from which decaying fragments very slowly deposited to create a deep, porous chalk bed. In more recent times a thin overlying clay-loam soil developed on the surface which just covers the flinty, upper chalk.
This rare soil formation perfectly combines with the unique climate in this little pocket of England to create excellent conditions to grow grapes.
In wet weather it provides excellent drainage, whilst holding enough moisture during the dry season to encourage the grapes’ flavour development ahead of harvest.
Centuries ago, fields upon fields of crocuses grew across Essex and Suffolk, making Saffron Walden a global centre for Saffron production.
Today, the same unique soil that enabled the crocus to flourish here is the key to growing the highest quality grapes that make Saffron Grange’s range of premium sparkling wines.
It is Paul’s vision that Saffron Grange will help revive this valuable land for generations to come.