Richard and Leslie Balfour-Lynn bought the 16th-century Manor near Staplehurst in 1986. But it wasn’t until 2001 that the family acquired the 400-acre estate that surrounds the house. The Estate, originally a working farm, was put up for auction unexpectedly and, having looked over the land for many years, Richard felt it was too good an opportunity to miss. So with little more than avid interest in vineyards and a genuine passion for wine he bought the land and planted the first vineyard with Leslie in 2002.
When 10,000 bottles of Balfour Brut Rosé, made from the first harvest in 2004, won a gold medal at the International Wine Challenge in 2008, the Estate was officially on the wine map and there was no turning back. An exciting journey to create England’s finest wine had begun.
Over the following years Richard formed a team of experts in the field who in turn assisted him with creating a state-of-the-art Winery and tasting room on the Hush Heath Estate, which opened in 2010. This later was developed further with the addition of an award-winning visitors centre overlooking the landscape. This now functions as a centre for English wine excellence and discovery, with production, education and winemaking at its heart.