Judges Praise Rising Star Winemaker Award Submissions as they pick finalists

Award judges, Jane Parkinson, Matthew Jukes and Tom Harrow were delighted by the standard of the entries both in terms of creativity and understanding of the processes involved.

Their three finalists are (in alphabetical order) Chris Boiling, Emma Garbutt and Chris Sherry; they will be invited to the awards presentation at the Herbert Hall Winery on June 16.

New winemakers were asked to come up with a creative idea for a sparkling wine. The winner’s wine will be made at the Herbert Hall Winery and released with their name on the label.

Among the entries were:

A natural yeast fermented fizz, using a special Mead dosage to help support the bee-keepers of Sark

A wine that seeks to break away from the steeliness of some English wines through the use of extended lees ageing.

A low pressure pinot-dominated off-dry food-oriented rosé sparkler

A sparkling wine labelled and stored upside down to be disgorged by sommeliers at the table.

A dry rosé with a dosage made from fresh strawberries – ideal for Wimbledon!

There was also significant interest in creating red sparkling wines. Among the ideas were:

A wine packed with vanilla oak and sweetness to give a fuller wine than is customary English wines.

A medium pinot blend dry fruit-driven red fizz for picnics and barbecues.

A red sparkler, inspired by Portuguese winemaking and foods,

A wine with minimal lees-ageing for light, fruity easy drinking.

Most of the entries were submitted by Wine Production students at Plumpton College in Sussex.

The judges struggled with the final shortlist and all commented on the quality and creativity of the submissions.  They said the high standard bore testament to the work being done at Plumpton College in training the winemakers of the future.

The judges and the team at Herbert Hall would like to thank all who entered.  They wish you all great success and fulfillment in your careers in the wine industry.


The Herbert Hall Rising Star Award gives a promising new winemaker the opportunity to conceive and produce a sparkling wine for commercial release with their name on the label.The award is open to people starting out on their career in the English Wine Industry. Entrants are asked to propose an idea for a new/experimental English sparkling wine cuvée (eg.  a cool fermentation/different yeasts/blends/dessert style wine etc.) and to oversee its production at the Herbert Hall winery.


Following completion of the project, a special limited edition 1000 bottle cuvee will be released under the Herbert Hall Brand with The Rising Star winemaker credited on the label. The launch will be given PR support and the winner will also receive their own specially designed vineyard jacket by Timothy Everest MBE.


 In no more than 400 words propose the style of sparkling wine that you would like to make giving an idea of your personal creative winemaking vision and ambitions.  It should include a description of the key processes involved. The wine must be made from one or more of the varieties grown at the Herbert Hall Vineyard (chardonnay, pinot noir, pinot meunier). The 2014 winner proposed a barrel fermented blanc de blanc.  Entries must be submitted by email to Nick Hall at Herbert Hall Wines (nmh@herberthall.co.uk) and marked Rising Star Award. The deadline for submissions is May 20th. We are looking for practical, enthusiastic, winemakers. A shortlist of five entrants will be drawn up and submitted to the judging panel.


The judging panel is made up of three leading UK wine industry figures: Jane Parkinson (www.janeparkinson.com), Matthew Jukes (www.matthewjukes.com) and Tom Harrow (www.winechap.com and www.honestgrapes.co.uk). They will each pick the entry that they think is the most exciting and commercially viable.  In the unlikely event of a tie Herbert Hall reserves the right to make the final decision.

The winner will be announced at a special lunch at the Herbert Hall Winery on Tuesday June 16th.

 Any question please email Nick Hall (nmh@herberthall.co.uk) or call him on 07956 163 519.

 Key Dates:

 Tuesday May 20, 2015:  Deadline entry submissions

Tuesday June 16, 2015: Awards Announcement Lunch


 Herbert Hall is a ‘garagiste’ winery producing some of the UK’s best traditional method sparkling wine.  Their philosophy is based around producing handmade wines of great individuality and character from their own organically grown Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes. The Herbert Hall house style is elegant and balanced with fruit to the fore. They currently make three wines:  Herbert Hall Brut, Herbert Hall Brut Rose and a special cuvée for HRH The Prince of Wales under the Highgrove label. Their wines are sold in top restaurants and retailers. (Further information about Herbert Hall at www.herberthall.com)


January 2015


Herbert Hall Wines is launching  a ‘Young Winemaker of the Year’ Award.

The initiative will recognise and support a talented young winemaker by giving the opportunity to make and release a limited edition sparkling wine at the Herbert Hall Winery in Marden, Kent.

“The idea for an award grew out of discussions with Peter Morgan, until recently Head of Winemaking at Plumpton College," says Herbert Hall founder Nick Hall.  “Students graduate with comprehensive knowledge, skills and winery experience but it can often take a while before they put their full range of skills into practice; this programme gives an opportunity to take the lead in producing a wine for commercial release – a responsibility which might otherwise elude them for many years.

 "Herbert Hall is a small, creative wine producer, committed to encouraging young talent; so rather than give a financial prize we felt it would be more valuable to give the winner the chance to make a sparkling wine in their choice of style and release it with their name on the label.”

The first recipient of the award is Kirsty Smith (24) who graduated from Plumpton College earlier this year.  Smith proposed the idea of producing a barrel fermented ‘blanc de blanc’ cuvée and will oversee the process at every stage.  Her wine will be launched under a special label as a limited edition of 1000 bottles.

" I am thrilled to have won this award and look forward to the challenge ahead," says Smith.   “Herbert Hall’s sparkling wines are widely recognised as amongst the very best  - so this will be a great opportunity for me to put my training into practice in a winery committed to the highest quality standards.

“What makes this prize unique is that in addition to giving me responsibility for production I will be credited when the wine is launched. As a young winemaker that is an exciting and helpful proposition."  

Despite its size, Herbert Hall has established a unique reputation for producing handmade sparkling wines of great elegance and finesse.  Its wines are available through leading wine merchants and stores including Lea & Sandeman, Harrods, Harvey Nichols and Fortnum and Mason. Listings include The Ivy, Tate Britain, Le Caprice, Bibendum, and Simpson's in the Strand.  The winery makes a special orgnic cuvée for HRH Prince Charles under the Highgrove label.


September 2013

The famous Kent brewer, Shepherd Neame, is to make Herbert Hall Brut available through its premium outlets. 
The partnership marks the coming together of two quintessentially Kentish names in the drinks industry - one old and one new and makes Herbert Hall more easily available to local cusomers.

Michael Prior, Wine and Spirits manager of Shepherd Neame’s wine company, Todd’s says: “We are committed to working with small growers and independent wineries and we have been looking for a truly exceptional English sparkling wine for some time. In Herbert Hall we have found one that is not only grown and produced in Kent but is widely regarded as among the very best in the country.“


May 2011

Tom Stevenson, widely regarded as among world's leading experts on Champagne and Sparkling Wine, has tipped Herbert Hall to be 'an excellent wine'. After tasting early disgorged samples of our first vintage, the author of the forthcoming Christie's World Encyclopedia of Champagne and Sparkling Wine made the following comment: "This is going to be an excellent Sparkling wine. I love the fruit - and the mousse, never to be forgotten, is exceptional".

Stevenson's enthusiasm has been matched by trade buyers and discussions are currently taking place with a number of these with a view to their becoming agents for our BRUT and BRUT ROSE.. It is also understood that GQ Magazine, the men's 'style bible' and stablemate of Vogue, is planning to feature a review of Herbert Hall in the forthcoming July issue.


August 2010

Herbert Hall has welcomed a new member of the vineyard team, a Border Terrier named Herbie. Born in April this year, Herbie has already begun to show a keen interest in helping to deter rabbits.


June 2010

We are delighted to be welcoming Members of the Marden Society for a visit on June 22. The visit will include a tour of the vineyard and winery where we shall explain the principles of how traditional method sparkling wine is made.


May 2010

Our first vintage is now bottled and has undergone its secondary fermentation. Tests show that fermentation was 100% successful and so we have every chance of producing a sparkling wine that at the very least meets out expectations. Now the wine is cellared and will undergo its long slow maturation process. We expect it to be ready for release in 2012.


May 2010

Marden villagers showed true grit by turning out for the 2010 bud-rubbing and party. We could not have chosen a wetter or colder day. Despite the miserable conditions most of the work was done. Rather than the planned picnic in the vineyard everyone huddled into the winery and small tent for food and drinks before going home to warm up. A big thank you to everyone who came to help.


September 2009

A golden September sun warmed the backs of our ten fruit pickers who carefully worked their way through the Marden Vineyard to bring in the first harvest. They began early in the morning on Friday September 25th and completed the task by midday on Saturday.

The Fruit was expertly picked and with such gentle handling arrived in superb condition at the winery. Sugar and acidity levels were perfectly set for the production of Traditional Method Sparkling Wine. It is believed that this may be the earliest that the classic Champagne varieties - Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier - have ever been picked in England. Usually these varieties are harvested in mid to late October. Sometimes even into November. The long warm summer of 2009 and the sunny, south-facing organic vineyard site have combined to ripen our grapes perfectly.

Around three tonnes were picked and the first pressing of Chardonnay was completed that first Friday night. Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier were pressed on Saturday. Pressings were slow and gentle and yield was limited to 1350 litres of juice to maintain quality. This will translate into approximately 1,500 bottles of Sparkling Wine. Next year we would expect yield to increase five-fold. After pressing the juice was chilled and settled for 24 hours when it was innoculated with Champagne yeast. 205 litres of the Chardonnay was barrel fermented while the remaining juice was fermented in stainless steel tanks.

Fermentation took around 10 days to complete. The Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier wine in stainless steel was racked off the lees and left to mature. Meanwhile the Chardonnay will remain in barrel and the lees will be stirred regularly. This process will help to develop a roundness in the wine which we hope will being greater complexity and richness to the finished blend. We are using 205 litre Champagne barrels. It is believed that this is the first time that genuine Champagne barrels have been used in an English winery. More often 225 litre barriques are used – made either from American, Hungarian or French oak. We have chosen two-year old Champagne barrels to avoid the excessive oakiness that can occur when using new ones.

In June, when the weather is warm again, the base wines that we have made will be blended, stabilised and filtered. We shall then add a mixture of yeast, wine and sugar. The resulting blend will be bottled so that the extended secondary fermentation in bottle can begin. Then begins the long wait – possibly as long as 18 months – until the wine is ready for degorging. Thanks to everybody who made first Herbert Hall vendage a memorable and successful occasion.


September 2009

Herbert Hall Wines, is to begin harvesting Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes at the organic Marden Vineyard in Kent on September 25th. Harvest for sparkling wine grapes in the UK is normally well into October. It is believed that the 2009 Herbert Hall crop is among the earliest ever in England for these classic Champagne varieties. A hot dry summer and a warm, sloping vineyard site have combined to achieve optimum sugar and acidity levels for traditional method sparkling wine production. Herbert Hall’s first harvest was scheduled to begin in October but has been brought forward to take advantage of the condition of the fruit.


September 2009

With only days to go before our first harvest, sugar and acidity levels are reaching optimum levels for the production of superb quality base wines. Sampling carried out on September 20th showed Pinot Noir acidity at 13.8g/l with sugar at 9.75% potential alcohol. Pinot Meunier was at 14.0g/l acidity and 10.0% potential alcohol while Chardonnay showed acidity of 15.7g/l and sugar at 9.0% potential alcohol.


June 2009

Nearly 100 volunteers turned out on Sunday June 7th to bud-rub and remove unwanted shoots on the young vines. Members of local groups including the Horticultural Society, Marden History Group, Women's Institute, the local Walkers Group and Marden Parish Church joined together to complete the work within three hours. Afterwards everybody sat down together to a feast in the new winery. The event sought to bring together all parts of the community, with excellent catering by Marden's wonderful pub The Unicorn and a reading by the Vicar of Marden. A big Thank You to all who gave their time to help. It was a very important job that will determine how the vines develop and it was done with great care.


May 2009

Construction of a new winery at Marden in Kent is complete. The building measures 18m x 9m and is situated to the south of Plain Road. Work was carried out by R&B Construction of Framfield, E.. Sussex. It will have the capacity to produce 20,000 bottles per year.


March 2009

The elegant and distinctive Herbert Hall logo, created by one of the UK's top graphic designers, Geoff Halpin, has been featured in the design industry journal, Design Week. Halpin, who now lives and works in France, has worked for a wide range of clients including Sir Paul McCartney and is famous for his typographic skills.


May 2007

After a year of planning, the Marden Vineyard has become reality with the planting of 12,500 vines. The vineyard comprises 60% chardonnay, 20% pinot noir and 20% pinot meunier grapes - the classic varieties blended for the production of top quality sparkling wine.