Digby Fine English, England’s terroir-obsessed blending house, has taken its status as England’s first negociant to the next level by acquiring its top Pinot vineyard, Hilden Vineyard. Digby is based in Arundel, West Sussex and is fresh off a spate of Gold and trophy wins in 2021, validating its unique approach to quality and style. Hilden Vineyard, in Kent, has been supplying Digby’s top Pinot fruit since 2018, and is now owned and run by Digby.
Digby’s model of identifying top vineyards with a diversity of soil types to blend into its signature house style has worked impressively since launch. The company’s goal is to permanently remain a jewel in the crown of English Sparkling wines. As the adage goes, ‘You can’t make great wine out of good grapes’, and Hilden has consistently produced Digby’s top Pinots since it came into production in 2018. With a site as special as this, Digby has ensured it will have Hilden’s fruit forever.
Hilden Vineyard was purchased recently from Philip Wright, who now becomes Digby’s new Chairman. The vineyard is on Wealden Clay-Sandstone soils and it is a part of Digby’s vineyard partner portfolio with vines on chalk, greensand and clay, spanning from Kent through to Sussex, Hampshire and Dorset.
Quotation from Trevor Clough, Digby CEO & Head Blender:
“A glass of fizz lasts but a moment, but land is forever. We are thrilled to take ownership of Hilden Vineyard, our signature vineyard on clay soils which produces the Pinot Noir for our rare and powerful Vintage Rosé. It is another step of Digby maturing as a business and a winery – we are putting in place everything that we need to endure as a luxury house of fizz for generations to come.
To green & pleasant!”
Quotation from Philip Wright, Digby Chairman:
“Since our first harvest in 2018, when Dermot Sugrue coined our fruit as “rare and brilliant”, we have been determined to develop the vineyard further. The opportunity to become involved in the Digby story and the end-to-end wine business, rather than just the growing of grapes, allows me to apply my experience to assist in growing the company as rapidly as possible. It is fun to be a part of a fast growing, young business.”
Hilden Vineyard nestles among the rolling hills in the Garden of England outside the village of Hildenborough, Kent, on a quiet lane sheltered by ancient hedgerows. In the shape of a bowl on two clay slopes, its microclimate supports optimal ripening conditions. It was lovingly planted by Philip Wright and is now under Digby’s care.
In 2014 Philip, with his wife Siggi, established Hilden Vineyard. Apart from overseeing the preparation and planting of the vineyard, together with its management when planted, Philip completed the course at Plumpton College on the principles of viticulture and also qualified as a City & Guilds sprayer.
Previously, Philip had a career at PricewaterhouseCoopers including leading its corporate finance and recovery business globally after the merger. Since retiring he has had a variety of non-executive positions. Philip brings his experience in scaling and globalising successful young companies to the Digby Board, having worked extensively in multiple countries including Japan, Australia, Hungary and Germany.
|Soil Type||Wealden clay-sandstone|
Formed approx. 125-146 MYA during the Cretaceous period during time of estuaries, deltas, and shallow seas
|Dinosaurs Alive When Soil Was Formed||Iguanodon, Microraptor|
|Geography||Sheltered bowl surrounded by ancient woodlands|
|44% Pinot Noir |
12% Pinot Meunier
|Planting Dates||2015 and 2020|
|Pruning Method||Double Guyot|
|Row Width||2.2 m|
|Vine Spacing||1.2 m|
|Typical White Base Wine Tasting Notes||“Potent, rich & balanced on the nose, a proper English twang on the palate and an exceedingly long finish”|
|Typical Red Base Wine Tasting Notes||“Warm cherry, integrated tannins, rich umami undertone and hint of sea salt on finish”|
|Digby Wines Most Associated With This Vineyard||Vintage Rosé Brut|
Leander Pink NV Brut
Non Vintage Brut
The innovative powerhouse in English sparkling, Digby was the first negociant in England and launched for sale nine years ago in 2013. It leapt to prominence when its first ever release, 2009 Vintage Reserve Brut, won the trophy as the #1 English sparkling wine in Tom Stevenson’s Champagne and Sparkling Wine World Championships 2014. Since then, Digby has come to be celebrated around the world in establishments where people enjoy fine quality from unexpected sources.
Digby achieves its world-class level of quality through long-term relationships with a handful of proven vineyards, producing some of the country’s top fruit. A special balance of vineyards drawn from chalk, greensand and clay soils in the South East. Restrained winemaking. Meticulous blending by Trevor Clough, our CEO & Head Blender. Long ageing. All told, with love and respect for the unique beauty of English nature and terroir. And now, with its own home vineyard, Digby’s Hilden Vineyard.
With this selection of exceptionally fine wines, Digby’s revenues are accelerating rapidly. Sales have grown by around 60% far this year, putting Digby well and truly on the path to profitability and continued expansion.
An astonishing trophy cabinet continues to grow as the wines receive consistent awards. A summary of Digby’s recent market recognition for world-class quality includes:
Digby has strong environmental credentials and is committed to minimising its environmental impact. The company has scrutinised the grape-to-glass environmental consequences of every bottle of Digby sold and is proud that since January 2020 every bottle sold is Net Zero from a carbon emissions perspective. More details on Digby’s ever-evolving work can be found here.
Digby is distributed by Armit Wines in England and Inverarity Morton in Scotland.
“Taking on established norms in the wine trade around the world, the strategy of seeking to be the best is not an empty slogan – it must pervade all we do.” Trevor Clough, CEO & Head Blender
BEST-OF ENGLISH VINEYARDS: Digby’s goal is to identify the best, proven vineyards that represent English terroir, that’s why we’re England’s first blending house. We’ve taken years to identify our vineyard partners in Kent, Sussex, Hampshire and Dorset.
BEST-OF ENGLISH WINEMAKERS: Digby’s house style is overseen by our uncompromising CEO & Head Blender, Trevor Clough, with his vision made into reality by our consultant winemaker, Dermot Sugrue, who is often whispered to be England’s best winemaker.
BEST-OF ENGLISH TASTING ROOMS: A sense of place, an embodiment of what we do, a space for escape and fun. Digby’s Tasting Room & HQ in historic Arundel is an iconic destination for wine lovers to experience English terroir for themselves.
BEST-OF BRITISH BRANDING: Digby’s innovative use of design balances individuality and understated style, and won The Drinks Business Awards Sparflex Prize for English Sparkling Wine Packaging in 2018.
BEST-OF GIVING BACK: For every bottle of Leander Pink sold, Digby supports young women and men at Leander Academy in Henley who dream of rowing to Gold for Britain in the Olympics one day. Digby also supports the Snowdrop Trust in Arundel.
BEST-OF RETAILERS & RESTAURANTS: Since launch, Digby has graced the shelves of the most prestigious and successful wine retailers and most adored Michelin starred restaurants. This is just as true of our export markets around the world.
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