The grapes to produce the Pinot Blanc Stopham Estate were pressed immediately on arrival at the winery, with no skin contact, to retain freshness. Fermentation lasted two months in stainless-steel tanks and under strict temperature control (12-14°C). Malolactic fermentation was avoided, and the wine was kept on its fine lees for seven months to enhance the variety’s crisp aromatics.
The six-hectare estate is situated in an area of outstanding natural beauty, in the South Downs National Park. The vines are planted on sandy, free-draining soils and south facing slopes, which maximise sun exposure and ripening. Simon practises sustainable farming, by employing careful soil management, encouraging natural biodiversity and integrated pest management. The flock of Stopham farm animals provides organic fertiliser to enrich the sandy soils.
“Precision, Passion, Craft and Sustainability” is the apt motto of Simon Woodhead’s, Stopham Estate. Having begun his career as an engineer, designing parts for Formula One racing cars, Simon discovered a passion for wine while living in Spain and in 2005 he enrolled at Plumpton College to study winemaking. In 2007 Simon planted six hectares of vines, predominantly Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc, at Stopham Estate, near Pulborough West Sussex. The estate is known locally for its ancient buildings that were recorded in the Domesday Book, as well as the swans that swim the River Arun, the banks of which form the lower boundary to the vineyards. Their small winery is in a converted barn on the estate that Simon leases from the owners, the Barttelot family.