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Hush Heath vineyard in Staplehurst opens new winery and tasting room

There's a warm welcome, and then there's a Hush Heath welcome.

When the Staplehurst vineyard opened its doors for a special open weekend so people could see the new winery and tasting room, shop and first-floor terrace, it was personal for producer Richard Balfour-Lynn, who runs the estate with wife Leslie.

He told guests enthusiastically ahead of the open weekend: "Whatever we sell we would drink. Everybody working here is part of the Hush Heath family.

Hush Heath Estate Picture: Dan Goldsmith
Hush Heath Estate Picture: Dan Goldsmith

"This is about showcasing and bringing people in to experience all the wine Garden of England. Wine in England should be capturing people's imagination.

"We want to be generous and inviting and inclusive and allow people to experience our journey.

"We want to make everybody feel relaxed and breathe out. It is to make them feel they have come into our home. We are inviting you into our home. We are sharing our food and our drinks and that is exciting for us all."

The vineyard also formed a wine club last year for people to try more of their wine.

Richard Balfour-Lynn with his wife Leslie Picture: Dan Goldsmith
Richard Balfour-Lynn with his wife Leslie Picture: Dan Goldsmith

The rustic-feeling but super stylish tasting room and spacious entrance led on to the winery, which visitors were able to take tours of.

The weekend, when visitors could see around the vineyards, was also ahead of what will be a frenetic period of activity, a it's all hands on deck for the harvest. The much-expanded winery stood quietly, awaiting the influx of pickers.

Richard added: "Everything starts in the vineyard. Wine isn't serious - wine is fun. I have been in a lot of industries in my life and let me tell you this is fun - wine is fun!

Some of the Hush Heath familt and wines on offer Picture: Dan Goldsmith
Some of the Hush Heath familt and wines on offer Picture: Dan Goldsmith

"We expect to have 50,000 visitors in the next year, and we want them to visit all the other Kent vineyards. We want people to experience the beauty of the landscape and the fabulousness of the wines.

"Drink - because tomorrow we pick!"

Hush Heath Winery awaits the harvest
Hush Heath Winery awaits the harvest

He also spoke of the collaboration between the county's vineyards, to promote eachother, and said it was not a competitive business, but rather a collaborative one.

"We are not in competition with the other wineries. Collaboration is really important - we need to work together."

It's not just at the open weekend when people can visit to enjoy the estate.

Enjoy 3 free samples of our award-winning wines and ciders after strolling through the Estate’s beautiful vineyards, apple orchards, and ancient oak woodlands. No need to book in advance. Free tours run until Wednesday, October 31, along with full estate, winery and tutored tasting tours, costing £25 per person. For more details, visit hushheath.com/tours-tastings


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