Waitrose sees debut harvest at Leckford

Leading retailer Waitrose has marked the first harvest of its Hampshire-grown grapes which will be turned into the supermarket’s first own brand English sparkling wine.
Two days of harvesting took place last week at the Leckford estate, with the grapes being sent straight to winemakers Ridgeview, to be turned into a brand new sparkling white wine for the supermarket. With a 65% market share in English wine, Waitrose is the leading retailer of English sparkling wine, and is making important progress to ensure there is enough wine to match customer demand.
Matt Smith, Waitrose wine buyer says: “English wine has never been so popular, with volume sales up 20% year on year, so there has never been a better time for us to fully support this blossoming industry. The Leckford vineyard is a supermarket first which is leading the way for even more great wines to be made in this country. We have grown three grape varieties on the farm, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay, which will be turned into a sparkling wine with the help of the award-winning winemakers at Ridgeview.”
The vines, which were planted in 2009, have been looked after by the team at Leckford, including Andrew Lazenby, commercial manager. He says: “It’s an incredibly exciting time at Leckford at the moment and the harvesting of our first crop of grapes is the culmination of several years of work. We are so pleased with the fantastic quality of the grapes we’ve grown and are looking forward to working closely with Ridgeview to create a stunning Waitrose English sparkling white wine.”
The wine produced from the Leckford grapes will be blended and then matured at Ridgeview.