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Danbury Ridge

Danbury Ridge was founded by two generations of the Bunker family: Michael and Heather Bunker and, their daughters Janine and Sophie.

For Michael and Heather, there really was no place like home, and having spent several years living in Asia they returned to Essex, settling in the village of Danbury, just a few miles north from where they had grown up.


The Land

While walking with friends on the estate it was suggested that some of the agricultural land owned by the Bunker family may prove an ideal location for growing vines.

The fields had long been scorned by local farmers for being lean and arid - a good training ground for racehorses over wet winters, but far from ideal for summer cereal crops.

A detailed feasibility study was undertaken, and the conclusions formed the outline of a plan that the family expanded upon over the following years. 

As the name suggests, Danbury Ridge is located southeast of the village of Danbury in Essex along a unique geological feature known as the Danbury to Tiptree ridge.

The estate is situated equidistant between the Blackwater Estuary to the north and River Crouch to the south which have significant influence over the favourable climate for vine growing enjoyed throughout the region.


The Winemaking

Danbury Ridge’s winemaker Liam Idizikowski was one of the first winemakers to recognise the world-class potential of fruit grown in Essex, Liam has spearheaded the ambitious production of premium still wines in the UK.

Growing up in Northern Ireland meant Liam travelled to learn his trade in California, Australia, South Africa and the Rhone. Working for world-renowned wineries like Tyrrells Estate in Australia’s Hunter Valley, and Williams Selyem in the Russian River Valley, California, meant Liam was able to hone his fastidious eye for detail.

Since passing his degree in Viticulture and Oenology with First-Class Honours, Liam has built a reputation for crafting some of the finest still and sparkling wines yet released by UK vineyards.


The Vineyards

The first vines were planted in 2014 with a focus on identifying Pinot Noir and Chardonnay clones which could best exploit the unique mesoclimate.

After just a few seasons the vines were producing grapes of a quality and ripeness previously unseen in the UK.

There are 28 acres under vine on the estate across three vineyards: Octagon Block, Sleipnir Block and Polo Field. Outside of the estate and within the wider Crouch Valley, Danbury Ridge owns and manages a further two vineyards; Spar Hill in Purleigh and Lark Hill located near the ancient village of Canewdon.


The Wine


Fruit for the 2021 Pinot Noir was carefully selected from across the Danbury Ridge estate. Despite their close proximity, the three estate vineyards display a rich and varied geology with individual mesoclimates.

The fruit is gently destemmed without crushing to maintain whole berries. The wine is matured for 12 months in French oak barrels before bottling.

Showcasing notes of black cherry mixed with aromas of plum and mint. Hints of wood spices and cedar add complexity to the aromatics. Black fruits dominate the palate with silky smooth tannins and fresh acidity that leaves a lasting impression on the finish.



In addition to the loamy, carbonate rich clay of the estate’s Sleipnir Block, Chardonnay was also sourced from two vineyards along the Blackwater Estuary and River Crouch characterised by the glacial deposits of the Blackwater Estuary to the north and the heavy London Clays from the River Crouch to the south.

Fruit was handpicked and whole bunch pressed. The juice was transferred to 228L Burgundian oak barrels and then left on gross lees for 12 months. Battonage was performed once, as the wine was transferred out of barrels to tank to give the wine further time on gross lees before bottling 6 months later.

Elegantly perfumed with fresh citrus flavours of lime zest and mandarin with white peach. The palate displays mouth-watering acidity and a delightful texture and great length.

The Octagon Block is the most established vineyard on the estate with an eclectic soil profile. Spanning over 12 acres, most of the vines sit on glaciofluvial sediments of sandy gravel, known as Danbury Gravel.
This wine expresses layers of zesty citrus aromas, honeysuckle and nougat. The palate is creamy and full bodied, showing a focused aciidty and well-integrated oak. The generous weight and long lingering finish lend to its status as an 888 wine.



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