6 ISSUES FOR £6 Subscribe to Kent Life today CLICK HERE

Kent wine maker: Biddenden Vineyards

PUBLISHED: 16:28 08 October 2018

Julian and Sally Barnes, Biddenden Vineyards (photo: Manu Palomeque)

Julian and Sally Barnes, Biddenden Vineyards (photo: Manu Palomeque)

Manu Palomeque 07977074797

We speak to Julian and Sally Barnes of Biddenden Vineyards about the winery's place as one of Kent's top wine producers

How did you get started in the industry?

We’re Kent’s original vineyard, celebrating our 50th anniversary in 2019. We pride ourselves on being a family run vineyard, with the second and third generation of the family running the estate and with the oldest vines still in the ground. My parents brought the small apple farm in 1958 but as food was becoming more global, smaller farms and businesses in agriculture like ours were beginning to struggle as to where they would sell their food. In 1969, my mother was listening to BBC Woman’s Hour and heard about growing vines in Hampshire. They decided to have a go and planted a third of an acre and that’s where is all began. We went on to plant our Ortega vines in 1972 and now have vines that have been in the ground for 46 years.

Describe a typical day

I left school to drive a tractor on an apple farm and I’ve always sworn that that would be a part of my job, but now that both my sons have entered the business, that particular job is always in high demand! In recent years I have been more office-based in sales, marketing and the financial side of the business but I am still very hands-on with the winemaking and the growing of the grape. We are a small family business and my day will always start with a walk around the farm with the dog, the beauty of working at home.

Your proudest achievement?

I think that still being a main player after 50 years is something that is really commendable. We’ve seen the industry change in waves over the years and there are always peers jostling for place, but to still be here after half a century, weaving our own path, is something I’m incredibly proud of. I’m also not just proud of what we have achieved personally, our own awards and accolades, but of what the industry has become and our part in helping to shape it.

Favourite wine and food pairing?

My parents originally were from Lancashire and so I would have to say roast beef and red wine.

Describe yourself in three words

Play to win!

What is special about your brand?

Since the eighties we have directed our efforts towards the variety of grape Ortega, which half the vineyard is planted with and with which Biddenden has become synonymous over the years. This variety of grape is what stands us apart, coupled with the fact that we are genuinely a small family business, run by the third generation. We don’t deal with supermarkets or wholesalers, we’re all about customer service, which we believe leads to sustainability.

English wines in the next five years?

I think the development of English wine ties in with people’s knowledge and desire for local products. I see the marketplace remaining strong for ourselves and with so many people coming into the industry, I think it’ll grow outside of the south-east area where we work at the moment.

biddendenvineyards.com

More from Food & Drink

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

With the same growing conditions as those in the Champagne region of France, Kent is at the heart of the UK's wine-growing industry

Read more
Tuesday, July 9, 2019

From the classic battered cod and chips to vegan 'fish' and deep fried gherkins, everybody loves a good fish and chip shop. We have picked 10 of the best places for fish and chips in Kent

Read more

Working with Kent Farmers' Market Assoication, we put a different market in the spotlight. This time, Wye Farmers' Market

Read more
Monday, July 1, 2019

Recipe shared by Graham Garett, chef/patron of The West House Restaurant with Rooms in Biddenden

Read more

Kent Life goes the whole hog and stays the night at the newly opened, much-anticipated The Pig at Bridge Place

Read more
Thursday, June 6, 2019

From Creole-inspired seafood to rustic Italian dishes, Margate is rapidly becoming one of Kent's top places to eat. We've gathered 10 of the best places to eat in the town

Read more
Wednesday, May 29, 2019

The distillery near Shipbourne has achieved one of its original green goals

Read more
Wednesday, May 29, 2019

This area of Kent is regarded as the finest spot in the country to make the highest quality sparkling wine

Read more
Friday, May 24, 2019

Drink in the sight and smell of our native blooms on one of these wonderful wildflower walks

Read more
Tuesday, May 21, 2019

There's nothing like finding a quiet spot in a beer garden with the sound of a river running along beside you. We have picked 10 places to do just that

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory
Kent Life Food & Drink awards. Open for entries.

Subscribe or buy a mag today


subscription ad


Follow us on Twitter


Like us on Facebook


Local Business Directory

Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search

Most Read

Latest from the Kent Life