We source wine from a variety of winemakers around the world; you can read more about them here:
- English and Welsh
- New Zealand
- South African
The Atamisque winery is situated on a road we’d like to live on, the ‘Ruta del Vino’ in Tupungato, UCO Valley. The winery is a small to medium size and aims for the highest possible quality. In their words: “We want to make great wines, we want to be successful, but we don’t want to be big!” They are obviously doing something right because they won new world producer of the year in the 2015 Sommelier wine awards. The wines they produce are something different because they combine French flare with Argentinian wine making. All their wines are named for indigenous trees and shrubs that grow among the vines.
Sebastian Zuccardi of Familia Zuccardi (one of the families at the heart of Argentinian winemaking) started this project with his wife Marce, and good friends Nuria and Pancho. The winery is tiny and its vineyards are in the shadow of Cara Sur (South Face) a famously treacherous mountain face, which gives this wine its name. The location is 1500m above sea level in the Calingasta Valley, a province of San Juan. Despite the youthfulness of this project, the vines are over 50 years old and their wines are truly spectacular.
Mauricio Lorca’s speciality is top class wines without any oak ageing. These wines are made from vines in high density, high altitude vineyards in the Uco Valley in Mendoza. He makes a range of wines to cater for everyone from budget-friendly right through to some really stunning premium brands. Mauricio’s dream from his college years was to be a winemaker; with his relatively small winery in Luján de Cuyo, he is definitely living that dream.
The Michelini Brothers all individually have their own wine projects as well as collaborating on some. They are all quite maverick in their winemaking approach, but as a result they make some very interesting wines.
They make wines in small quantities in the Gualtallary sub-region of the Uco Valley. The soils here are very chalky, which has a definite influence on the wines and is partly why the Gualtallary region is growing in reputation.
Being the first female winemaker in Argentina make Susana Balbo one of our wine heroes. She has been making wine since 1983 and released her first vintage in 2002. Susana is a proponent of single vineyard wines, which are evocative of their location. She has led the charge in producing simple, drinkable Argentinian wines, which are fresh and elegant rather than in keeping with the more heavy traditional styles. As a result, Susana is renowned around the world for her exceptional talent.
The winery is a family business with her daughter Ana heading up all the marketing and her son Jose becoming a talented winemaker in his own right. She also has Edy Del Popolo on board, who is an esteemed winemaker responsible for the BenMarco range of wines.
Tacuil is an incredibly remote vineyard in the Salta region. It’s one of the highest vineyards in the world at 2250 metres above sea level. It’s also outside the normal range of latitudes where it’s deemed possible to grow grapes, because the height tempers the extreme heat. On top of all this adversity, these winemakers are totally off grid. No electricity beyond a generator and no internet! Amazing, we take our hats off to them and their wines.
Francisco (Pancho) Lavaque is part of the Lavaque family, a long established producer of wines from Cafayate in Salta. Since 2016, Pancho has been working on a smaller project with acclaimed winemaker Marcelo Pelleriti. This project is Vallisto, which really extols the virtues of the unique terroir found in the Cafayate valley. A Vallisto is a person from the valley (specifically the Cafayate Valley). During this time, they have rediscovered old vineyards and reclaimed them for winemaking. The combination of these old vines and some modern wine-making practices have resulted in some incredible, unique wines, with complex flavours and big tastes.
Dandelion Vineyard is a venture of love for its four talented owners. Initially, they sourced old vineyards across Mclaren Vale, Eden Valley, Barossa Valley and Adelaide Hills. They then produce the wines in the famous Mclaren Vale with love and attention. And the results are stunning.
This winemaker was taken over in 2016 by the Brown Brothers, but has not lost anything in the process. The winery remains in the Yarra Valley and continues to use the same grape growers. The grapes used in this wine come from five different vineyards in the Yarra Valley: Sexton, Tarraford, Arthurs Creek, Quarry Ridge and Primavera. As a result, this Yarra Valley producer makes wine that speaks of the local area. The cool climate of the region really makes the Innocent Bystander wines stand out.
Espíritu de Chile is an excellent value producer of classic Chilean wines in the central valley. They employ modern winemaking techniques and aim to make good quality affordable wines. We certainly think this is something they do very well.
Aurelio Montes, Douglas Murray, Alfredo Vidaurre and Pedro Grand started Montes in 1987. They formed Montes with the intention of producing some of the best wines in Chile. Their meticulous approach to wine making really broke the mould. They control all aspects of the process and pick their grapes by hand. As a result, their Villa Montes Cabernet Sauvignon raised the bar for wine making in Chile. A number of different brands make up the Montes portfolio. For instance, the Alpha wines are made from premium sites, which guarantees complexity; the Villa Montes wines are made from Montes’ estate vineyards, which make them excellent value for money.
Polgoon is a true Cornish gem. The vineyard was set up in the early 2000s and they completed their first harvest in 2006. They are based just outside Penzance at the tip of Cornwall; if you’re down that way, you really should pop in and say hi! Their location gives them a special micro-climate that allows them to produce some excellent wines, including one of the best English reds we’ve tasted. Their wines have won multiple awards including the Waitrose Trophy for “Best Still Rosé in the UK”. They also have an orchard, where they grow apples and pears for making ciders and juices.
They are vegan certified by the vegetarian society.
Boris Kovac is a contract winemaker in Languedoc-Roussillon with an in-depth knowledge of the unique terroirs of this area. He owns several hectares of vines in the Vallée d’Agly, where Carignan, Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre thrive in the rocky conditions. Here he makes small batch wines by hand, with some exceptional results.
Château Haut-Blanville is a family run domaine situated in Languedoc Pays d’Oc. They have been running since the late 1990s when they left Paris in search of becoming winemakers. Since then they have built up their estate with additions of vineyards across the region. They cultivate all their vines according to hybrid sustainable principles which combine Lutte Raisonnée, organic cultivation and biodynamics. Their overriding aim is to preserve the quality and diversity of the soil without using any chemical fertilisers at all.
Château Laville is situated in Sauternes and produces some award winning Sauternes. However, they also have a small parcel of 1.3 hectares of red vines, which are producing some excellent reds. As the winemaker employs his own full time grape pickers, he can ensure the grapes are picked at the optimum time rather than waiting until pickers are available, meaning his quality is excellent.
Corrine Perchaud makes Burgandy wines that are elegant, subtle and ageable. With her husband, they own a number of vineyards just south of Chablis. The Les Fourneaux site where these grapes are grown has steep Westerly facing slopes, which are a mix of clay and chalk soils. The vines are all over 10 years old. This Premier Cru site is also quite small at just 1.6 hectares in total.
Domaine Aubai is a former wine co-operative in Aubray, Languedoc. They produce biodynamic and organic wines from a range of grapes. The wooded hills protect their 50 year old Grenache and Carignan vines from the worst of the weather. They also grow recently planted Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Viognier.
Domaine des Brosses is about 10km South of Sancerre. Established in 1875, it has a long history of winemaking. Their vineyards are on a mixture of clay and chalk soils, which give the classic minerality of a good Sancerre. Since the late 90s they have used a machine harvester so that they can harvest the Sauvignon Blanc grapes at night. It is this process that helps to retain the gooseberry and citrus aromas of a Sancerre.
The wine making at Mas La Chevalière is headed up by Géraud Blanc. Géraud Blanc believes in a sustainable approach to winemaking. For instance, he sources all the grapes from local organic vineyards that he has worked with for a long time. This Pinot Noir comes from the Northern Gard at the foothills of Cévennes. They only use natural products in the vineyard, so no pesticides or herbicides of chemical origin are used at all. Finally, they do all the work in the vineyard by hand, assuring a fine quality wine as a result.
Based in the Rheinhessen region of Germany, Jochen Dreissigacker has been making excellent wines. Since 2010 he has also been organically certified and he uses biodynamic methods in most of his estate (although he has decided against certification). The secret is simplicity and limited intervention, letting the grapes speak for themselves. He only picks fully ripened grapes and uses wild yeasts to make the wine.
His wines are acclaimed in the wine making community, rightly so in our eyes. Their wines are vegan although not yet certified. He explained to us that to be vegan certified in Germany, everything about the wine including its bottle and label must also be vegan. So this is a process they are currently working through.
Artigianale, by their own definition, have created ‘A vegan prosecco with sustainability at its heart’. They are dedicated to creating a craft product that is as environmentally friendly as it is delicious.
This Prosecco has some impressive eco credentials:
- They use organically grown grapes.
- They make the wine using 100% renewable energy sources.
- The label and bottle are made from recycled materials.
Cantina Colli Vicentini has been on the up ever since winemaker Alberto Marchisio joined as director and winemaker in 2012. The vineyards are situated on the hills South of Vicenza, the Colli Berici. The location of the vineyards results in lower yields and increased ripeness. As a result, you get much higher quality wine; in fact some of the best in the area.
Cantina Di Monteforte is based in the Eastern part of Soave. As 60% of their vineyards are on South facing hills, their wines tend to be fuller and fruitier than others in the region. Cool breezes from the Dolomites drop the night time temperatures in the region, which helps to develop aromatic flavours in the wine.
The Pallavicini family have owned land in and around Rome for hundreds of years. They have established their vineyards in the classic area of Castelli Romani because of this long standing association with the area. Their vineyards are 300 metres above sea level and benefit from the region’s fertile volcanic soils. They built their winery over a Roman aqueduct and cistern. You will also find Roman remains scattered around the surrounding land. Despite this historical setting, Marco Cerqua (the winemaker) uses modern winemaking techniques. As a result, he makes superb wines that bring out the best in the local grape varieties.
Based just outside Verona, Ponte Pietra is the stone bridge that has stood there since Roman times. Vines have been grown in this area since before the Roman era. Matt Thompson, the winemaker produces some excellent value for money wines.
Vigneti Zabù is a young estate in South Western Sicily. Located in a valley near Lake Arancio, the lake creates a small microclimate, which protects the vines from the blistering Sicilian sun.
Winemaker Fiona Turner makes Tinpot Hut wines from grapes predominately grown in her own vineyards. Although she has a number of vineyards, her main one is in Blind River. Blind River is in Marlborough’s Awatere Valley in the North-East of New Zealand’s South Island. Marlborough itself is home to over 500 growers and winemakers, with a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc being a classic from the region.
The winemaker named the house after businesswoman Antonia Ferriera, who was fundamental in starting the port business in the region. Eventually her countrymen nicknamed her ‘Ferreirinha’; therefore this house pays homage to her memory. It’s the first house in the region dedicated to making light wines. The house owns 520 hectares of vineyard in the Douro in total. This land spans all three of the Douro’s sub-regions: Lower Corgo, Upper Corgo and Douro Superior.
Bellingham is one of the oldest wineries in South Africa because it was established in 1685. It was setup by Bernard and Fredagh Podlashuk who transformed a neglected Franschhoek farm into this wonderful winery.
Bellingham believes in a sustainable approach throughout the whole wine making process to safeguard the community and environment. For instance, this includes protecting and promoting biodiversity in their vineyards, the introduction of light-weight bottles and packaging to cut down on carbon emissions during the production phase, and continuously improving their waste management processes. They also launched a progressive community carbon emission offset project that involved establishing bamboo plantations in rural regions. This project won them the international Drinks Business Green Awards Ethical Environmental Award in 2012.
Award winning Boschendal lies half way between the Simonsberg and Drakenstein mountains, just 40 minutes outside of Cape Town. As recently as five years ago, Boschendal was in a state of ruin and disrepair with fewer than 50 employees. Five years later with the help of committed investment, Boschendal is revitalising. The company now employs 550 workers; they have planted 600,000 fruit trees (plums, pears, citrus and olives); they have started an ambitious project to regenerate soil health. Their aim is to farm ethically by improving their soil ecology and providing dignified employment that develops the potential of each person. Their core aim is to make Boschendal a place of ecological and social justice for the land, its workers and their communities.
Brampton are a new style of winemaker in the heart of Stellenbosch. This urban modern winemaker combines grapes from other producers and creates some great affordable wines whilst maintaining quality.
Douglas Green is a progressive wine brand dating back to 1942. They have always taken an innovative approach to winemaking, resulting in good value consistent wines. As a result, their wines are popular throughout South Africa and the rest of the world.
They carefully select vineyards from the best suited regions for each variety to create their distinctive fruit-driven signature wines. They work closely with their growers and appointed cellars year after year, considering them ‘part of the family’.
The Douglas Green winemaking team is true to tradition but still modern and innovative. They are dedicated to creating lifestyle wines and promise “Cape Wine at its best”.
Franschhoek Cellar make their wines under the Bellingham umbrella.
Tall Horse wines come from the South Western Cape of South Africa. They are a young winemaker, having started in 2005. But don’t let this put you off. They know what they are doing and make excellent value, very drinkable wines. Their tag line is “Tall Horse goes with anything and anything goes with Tall Horse” which sums them up nicely! In addition, they have good eco credentials; the Tall Horse lightweight glass project saves 120kg of Carbon for every 1000 bottles and they recycle.
Please note only their reds are currently suitable for vegans, so don’t get tricked in other stores.
The translation of Alma Atlántica is Atlantic soul and it pays homage to the wines created near the Atlantic Ocean. The grapes in this wine are grown in the oldest sub-region of Rías Baixas, Val do Salnés. Aside from this being the oldest sub-region, it is also the wettest. The vines grow on the steep slopes of the river Temega, 400-500 metres above sea level.
Bodega Esteban Martin is in the Cariñena region of Spain, which is to the South-West of the larger and more famous Rioja region. Cariñena is well known for its Garnacha wines and also crisp, fruity, dry whites. Esteban Martin produces some excellent value wines without compromising on quality. The winery is a large modern site. The ground is stony and hot, perfect for those fruity flavours.
Bodega Luis Alagra sits just outside the historic walls of the picturesque village of Laguardia. The team at the bodega are passionate advocates of Rioja Alavesa. Rioja Alavesa is the smallest and most Northerly of the three regions that make up Rioja. Its climate is most similar to Rioja Alta. This region produces some excellent wine due to its high altitude and chalky soils.
Bodega Montecillo established themselves in 1870 in the town of Fuenmayor, Rioja Alta. This town has one of the longest histories of wine making in Rioja. Over the decades, Bodega Montecillo has built relationships with many local vineyards. Because of this, they only buy the very best grapes from over 800 different parcels of land in the area. Despite this long history, they are not stuck in past. In fact, they have invested heavily in technology in recent years and now use some of the latest winemaking techniques.
Situated just north of Murcia in the South of Spain, the Castaño family owns 410 hectares of vineyards. They have become known as one of the very best producers in the area. The hot weather and altitude of the area allows them to produce wines with great fruit flavours and interesting aromatics. Additionally, they told us they don’t need pesticides because the hot weather means a lack of pests. They fine the wine using bentonite clay.
Bodega Garzón led the revolution of winemaking in the South of Uruguay. Starting out 10 years ago, Bodega Garzón has evolved into a scattering of 1,150 different plots. Each plot is chosen to suit the grapes grown there. Bodega Garzón has sustainability at its core. For instance, they are the first winemaker outside of North America to apply for LEED status. They try to use only renewable energy in their winemaking process and use a gravity system to minimise energy usage, whilst maximising quality.