One of the oldest organic vineyards in England, Davenport makes expressive, terroir-driven, low intervention wines of real depth and character. Davenport still and sparkling bottles have won multiple awards and are served in Michelin restaurants across the country.
About Davenport Vineyards
The story of Davenport wine began in 1991, when Will Davenport planted his first vines on his parents’ land, in Kent. At that time he was running a winery in Hampshire, so his own vineyard was more of a hobby. However, in 1993 the winery closed down. Setting up his own project seemed like a natural solution for Will, who by that time already had experience working in vineyards and wineries in Alsace, Champagne, California and Australia.
Today Davenport holds 10 hectares of vines grown on five parcels of land – mostly at Horsmonden in Kent, with one plot in East Sussex. The soil types and micro-climate vary between sites. This results in a fantastic variety of grapes, as well as wine styles.
From the beginning, Will was a keen supporter of organic farming. In 2000, he converted all the vines and winery to organic systems, certified by the Soil Association. Organic vine growing is a risky business in England, especially considering all the weather challenges. However, thanks to the meticulous work in the vineyard, Will’s vines are in great shape. This is proven by the quality of Davenport wines which show depth and character.
From Vines To Wines
One of Will’s long time goals has been to improve the biodiversity in the vineyards and the surrounding farmland. Therefore, some of the areas are left un-mowed to create a habitat for insects and grass seeds for birds. In addition, the team has been installing birds nesting boxes every winter. Furthermore, the fields around the winery are managed as wildflower hay meadows (previously grazed by cattle and sheep). The Davenport team only trims hedges when absolutely necessary, often on a 4 or 5 year cycle, sometimes longer. This way the bushes provide a mix of habitats for nesting birds.
It goes without saying that the grapes are hand-picked here and the winemaking approach is natural and low-intervention. Thus, Davenport wine is always wildly fermented, often with very little temperature control, allowing nature to take its course. Because of this approach, the fermentation process often takes several months, but Will is happy to wait to achieve more complexity and a better expression of the grapes. A very small amount of sulphites is used to stabilise the wine and filtration is mainly avoided.
As a result, each bottle from the Davenport wine range represents a gorgeous expression of its terroir. In a word, these are wines with a real sense of place.