Chartham vineyard - a FAMILY ENTERPRISE

Traditional farming values with a modern, sustainable approach

We are a family-owned vineyard started in 2013 on part of our farm where the soils match the terroir of the Champagne region of France.

Chartham Vineyard is part of Burnt House Farm located just outside the historic City of Canterbury in East Kent, very close to all transport links. How to find us.

We produce award-winning white, red and sparkling wines for sale in our Online shop and Vineyard shop as well as many local shops and restaurants.

Chartham Vineyard is open on Saturdays from 10.30am to 5.00pm. Visitors can enjoy our free art gallery, wine tastings in our vineyard shop and pre-booked group tours and tastings.

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Family Chartham Vineyard

The story so far

The owners are Roz Waller (a former GP) and her husband Richard Goodenough (a former University lecturer).

They are both hands on in running Chartham Vineyard as well as managing the business. Together with Richard’s son Andy who manages the vineyard, you will often see them manning the Vineyard shop, leading pre-booked Group Tours & Tastings as well arranging art exhibitions for the Vineyard gallery.

The first vineyard at Chartham was recorded in 1303 at Deanery Farm, established by Prior Henry of Canterbury Cathedral (we even have records from Cathedral Archives detailing its maintenance costs).

Our own vineyard, started 710 years later, is part of Burnt House Farm which has been in owner Roz Waller’s family for 70 years. The farm extends over nearly 40 hectares of land and is a mixture of arable, pasture, coppice and ancient woodland. Today 2½ hectares of arable is given over to vines.

The original Burnt House Farm, a mansion, burnt down in 1730 but its ancient Dovecote, now a scheduled monument, is featured in Chartham Vineyard’s logo.

Find out more about our vineyard

Our logo brings together important elements that help to define our enterprise:

THE BUILDING represents the ancient Dovecote on our farm. This beautiful listed building stands tall at the gateway to our vineyard surveying the vines beyond.

THE RAMPANT HORSES represent the white horse symbol of the County of Kent which pre-dates the Magna Carta. In the 1060s Kent was granted the right to retain this ancient symbol and granted the motto "Invicta" by William the Conqueror.

THE GARDEN OF ENGLAND is an historic phrase describing the fertile lands of Kent famous for its fruit and hop growing for well over 600 years. In the 16th century Henry VIII's gardener had orchards near Teynham and market gardens were rapidly established in Kent to provide fresh produce for the growing population of London.

We regard the cultivation of wines and winemaking as a journey of discovery. Our aim is to produce high quality fruit and top quality wines which reflect the distinctive terroir of our site within the Kentish Downs. To achieve this we are guided by the following principles:

QUALITY OVER QUANTITY. No short cuts. No substitutes for time and patience. Our wines will be produced solely from grapes grown on Chartham Vineyard, which have been harvested by hand.

STEWARDSHIP. As custodians of this land, we have a great respect for traditional vineyard practices, combined with a modern approach to winemaking.

FAMILY VALUES. Our work ethic is enriched by the dedication and commitment of our family-run business.

COMMUNITY. We appreciate the reciprocal benefits from established links between our business and our local community.

SUSTAINABILITY. We are anxious to adopt sustainable methods in both cultivaton and processing that will reduce environmental impact and promote biodiversity.

Our wines are made by Litmus Wines, high end wine consultants and makers based at Denbies Wine Estate in Dorking, Surrey.

Established in 2008, Litmus Wines is owned and operated by the highly respected and experienced John Worontschak, Mike Florence and Matthieu Elzinga.

On the day of picking, our grapes are transported to Dorking to be crushed and made into our wine. Throughout the year, we work closely with the John Worontschak and Matthieu Elzinga on developing our wine until it is bottled and delivered back to our wine cellar where it settles until ready for drinking.

John Worontschak, Litmus’ managing director and chief winemaker at Denbies, has been making fine wine in England since the 1980’s after winemaking in Australia, France and California. John has an impressive reputation in both winemaking and production and is a consultant to winemakers around the world.

Matthieu Elzinga, Litmus’ production manager, learned his craft running the family’s wine estate in Muscadet for 11 years. He also spent time in the Champagne region of France learning the intricacies of Champagne production. A civil engineer, Matthieu also holds a degree in Viticultural and oenological (Chateau de Briace).

Our wines couldn’t be in safer, more experienced hands.

2020
During Covid-19, Art exhibitions and Group tours & tasting were paused. We put in special safety measures for our Vineyard shop and also launched our Online Shop. A smaller harvest (frost damage in April/May) was compensated by very good fruit quality. In the 2020 WineGB Awards, all our wines won medals and our Bacchus also won silver in the 2020 International Wine Challenge.

2019
There were no frost problems early in the season and flowering conditions were very favourable followed by a typically varied English summer with good ripening in long periods of warm sunshine. Grapes remained healthy and nothing got eaten! In late September cool, wet conditions led to some concern about ripening. Harvest began on 2nd October and was completed in the wet on 21st with a total yield of 18.5 tonnes.

Our first sparkling Rose de Noir 2017 went on sale in the summer, followed later in the year by our 2018 Pinot Gris, Bacchus and Pinot Noir. Early in the year, our sparkling Chardonnay Blanc de Blancs 2016, won a Gold Medal in the Independent English Wine Awards and quickly sold out.

2018
The ‘Beast from the East’ brought extremely cold spells early in the year - fortunately when our vines were still dormant. Higher daytime temperatures and a wet spring encouraged excellent early growth with little frost damage, followed by a period of very little rain or wind resulting in an uninterrupted flowering period. The summer’s sustained warm weather - high daytime temperatures and warm nights - continued well into the autumn, but the lack of rainfall was not an issue thanks to the moisture retaining qualities of our terroir. These near perfect growing conditions resulted in an excellent quality, high yield harvest with production more than double that of 2017.

Our first sparkling white wine (from Chardonnay harvest 2016) went on sale in our Wine Shop. In the farmyard, our newly renovated cow barn was transformed into a tasting room and gallery (with artist workspace) in time to host our first Christmas Art and Craft Fair. Family and Friends helped us pick of 23 tonnes of grapes (more than double our 2017 harvest).

2017
Following a very cold winter, warmer than average temperatures in early spring resulted in good growth of young shoots. Then an air-mass frost on 9th May resulted in some damage, particularly to the Chardonnay vines. Recovery was rapid with flowering and fruit set coming two to three weeks earlier than normal. After a very warm summer we began harvesting on 11th September, the earliest Litmus wines had received ripe Bacchus in over 30 years. But unlike 2016, the warmth did not extend into late summer and autumn. Harvest was completed by 2nd October.

Our 3rd harvest yielded over 11 tonnes of grapes. We planted a demonstration vineyard next to our ancient Dovecote. We opened our own wine shop and wine store at Burnt House Farm in time for our 2nd vintage of over 4,000 bottles of Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Bacchus.

2016
Our 2nd harvest yielded nearly 8 tonnes of grapes. Our first vintage, Dovecote White 2015 was a sell-out, winning won a Bronze Award in this year's UKVA National Competition.

2015
Our 1st harvest yielded 0.5 tonnes.

2014
We planted an additional 0.5 hectare of Pinot Noir on a Burgundy clone to produce colour for rose or a red wine.

2013
Very busy with sub soiling, harrowing and planting windbreaks.

2012
A specialist team from Germany machine planted our 7,000 vines in a day - Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Bacchus and Pinot Noir from France/Germany with rootstocks and clones suited to our soil, location and cool maritime climate. Then our trellis structures were set up ready for first growth.

 

Views across the valley
BUY FROM OUR SHOP OR ONLINE
Enjoy free wine tastings on Saturdays, from 10.30 to 5.30 in our vineyard shop.

 

wildflowers grow under the vines
BIODIVERSITY
These wildflowers growing in and around our vines are proof of our 'gentle touch' to pest control.