Essex wine centre comes to life

On Saturday 13 July, vineyard founders Jane and Peter Moore were joined by friends, family, loyal supporters, and UK wine industry professionals for the opening of the new wine centre at Toppesfield Vineyard in Halstead, Essex. 

It was a chance for all to see the Moore’s vision for a stylish, contemporary space come to life after 18 months of hard work by builder Derek Mason. The wine centre was officially opened by one of the UK’s leading viticulturists, Duncan McNeill, who has been consulting and advising the couple throughout their English wine journey.

“Duncan gave us invaluable advice in the first few years of establishing Toppesfield Vineyard, he provided the technical consultancy which we applied on site, enabling us to do everything right from day one,” said Peter Moore, who’s viticulture story started in 2012 when he and his wife Jane had the opportunity to buy some suitable clay loam over chalk land next to their house.

The boutique vineyard’s new tasting room features a large picture window overlooking the estate’s Bacchus and Pinot Noir vines and will finally provide a luxurious contemporary environment in which to serve the range of high-quality East Anglian wines. 

“It’s nice to think that I have been able to help with the establishment of Toppesfield, but it is the work that Jane and Peter have both put into the whole project that gives it the integrity and character that it possesses,” said Duncan, who proudly cut the ribbon at the opening ceremony. “The wine centre itself is just pure class. They really have contributed to English wine culture. It is a showpiece for English boutique wine.”

After the opening ceremony, Duncan McNeill led two heavily subscribed tours of the vineyard, which is planted with 3,400 Bacchus and 500 Pinot noir précoce vines. There was huge interest and lots of questions as people were fascinated by the number of factors which need to be taken into consideration for growing vines.

Later, event attendees were able to take part in a tutored wine tasting experience with international wine judge Mary Mudd. One of the pioneers of the English wine industry, having planted Dedham Vale Vineyard in 1990, her knowledge of growing grapes, making and tasting wines is extensive. Her audience at Toppesfield comprised a number of wine connoisseurs and wine buyers, as well as general members of the public. In addition to tutored tastings of the Toppesfield wines, she also ran a blind ‘smell test’ of four different alcoholic beverages which proved more difficult than most participants anticipated. 

“We are delighted that so many of our local community came to support and enjoy the day, as well as many of our clients, who attended on what would normally be their day off from the wine business,” said Jane Moore. “It was a great turnout and we hope all who came will spread the word about the quality and success of English wines. Our aim has always been to deliver a top-quality experience; the new wine centre provides us with the environment for clients to drink our wines in a beautiful, contemporary space, in full view of the vineyard where our grapes are grown.”

As Jane and Peter continue with their full-time careers, the cellar door is available to visit by appointment on Saturday mornings 10am till 12 noon.

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