Hush Heath Estate - Leslie and Richard Balfour-Lynn
“Hush Heath’s brand stands for premium quality in all aspects, from the vineyards through to the winemaking and presentation.”
How did you get started in the industry?
Leslie and I planted our first vineyard at Hush Heath Estate in 2002 with a view to making a pink sparkling wine of an equivalent quality to Billecart Salmon Rosé which was our favourite pink Champagne. We planted five acres purely as a hobby but with a professional approach, and the intention of producing something that we personally loved. Balfour Brut Rosé was launched in 2004 and quickly became a major success, winning a Gold medal and trophy in the International Wine Challenge for our first vintage.
What is the most hands-on element of your job?
Carrying out customer tastings and tours of the Estate for both trade and consumer visitors. This is a very personal experience – we are literally inviting visitors into our home and pride ourselves on our excellent hospitality.
What is your proudest achievement to date?
Whilst eating at the restaurant at the Royal Opera House with Leslie, we overheard a group of fellow diners drinking Balfour Brut Rosé, being surprised that it was English, and saying how fabulous it was.
If you could share a bottle of wine with anyone in the world, who would it be (and why)?
Winston Churchill, as he was an inspirational leader at a time where leadership was required as never before.
Describe your favourite wine and food pairing.
Balfour Brut Rosé with fish and chips.
Describe yourself in three words.
Determined, uncompromising, passionate.
What is special/unique about your brand? What distinguishes your vineyard from the others in the partnership?
Here at Hush Heath we pride ourselves on delivering an incomparable guest experience for our visitors – from the beauty of the vineyards, our stunning hospitality spaces, to the ambience we create, it is all about entertainment and enjoyment – we want our visitors to walk the vineyards, taste our wine, enjoy the spaces and have a fantastic time.
Hush Heath Estate is a stunning 400-acre garden of vineyards, apple orchards and wildflower meadows, surrounded by our ancient oak woodlands. It is a hidden gem for wine tourists and their families to discover. Hush Heath’s family of wines and ciders are characterised by their purity of taste and colour, wonderful fruit balanced by English racy acidity. Hush Heath’s brand stands for premium quality in all aspects, from the vineyards through to the wine-making and presentation.
We are a family business with all our wines and ciders named after Leslie and myself, our four children, and most recently our dog, Liberty.
Tell us about your location in Kent:
Hush Heath Manor, our family home, was built in 1503, and sits in the middle of the Estate, overlooking the vineyards, apple orchards and woodlands. The oak woodlands untouched since medieval times, surround the whole Estate, and visitors love wandering through them with a carpet of untouched bluebells and white anemones in the spring.
What do you envisage for the development of English wines within the international marketplace in the next 5 years?
Hush Heath currently exports to 30 different USA states, Canada, Hong Kong and Japan. We anticipate that exports will grow exponentially over five years, with up to 25% of our sales taking place abroad.