Food & Drink

Published: February 28, 2022 | Updated: February 28, 2022

Grape news: Award-winning wine estate is to increase production by 200% to meet demand

By Andrew Diprose, editor

Award-winning Dorset wine estate, Langham, is to expand its vineyard by 184 per cent in a bid to keep up with the growing demand for English sparkling wine.

The project, costing more than £500,000, will see the area grow from 30 acres to 85 acres.

The expansion will increase production by 200 per cent, from 50,000 to 150,000 bottles.

The new vines will be planted at the same Crawthorne vineyard site, about 11 miles from Dorchester.

They’ll include existing clones and varieties, predominantly Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

Justin Langham, Owner of Langham Wine Estate, pictured, said: “Our expansion of the vineyard is for a number of reasons.

“Firstly, we are selling out of our wine and demand is steadily increasing.

“At times in the past we have had to ration how much wine people can buy.

“It is highly likely we will be doing this again in the near future.

“The other main reason is that it is a personal challenge for me.

“I started this business from scratch with our first planting 13 years ago.

“It has exceeded my highest expectations in almost every respect but specifically with the quality of the wines we are producing and the unprecedented demand for it.

“It is this success that has allowed us to plant another 55 acres of vines and further expansion is planned for the winery in the future.”

The planting will take place in May this year.

The first harvest is expected in 2024/25 and the wine will be on sale in 2026/27.

In 2020, Langham was named Sparkling Wine Producer of the Year by the International Wine & Spirits Competition (IWSC).

It saw off competition from more than 700 entries from all over the world including champagne and prosecco brands.

The previous year the contest had been won by the French champagne house, Veuve Clicquot.

In three out of the past four years it  has been named the best sparkling wine producer in the South West.

It was Justin’s father, John, who first came up with the idea of establishing a vineyard.

That was in 1980 when he acquired the Grade I Bingham’s Melcombe manor house, pictured, little changed since the reign of Edward VI in the 16th Century.

Thought to be the oldest house of its kind in Dorset, it belonged to one family – the Binghams – for more than 600 years.

Under its new owner, Bingham’s Melcombe was to become the centre point for Langham Farms Ltd, today covering more than 1,000 hectares.

And also a rudimentary vineyard planted by John and covering some three quarters of an acre.

In 2009, Justin decided to develop his father’s vineyard into a commercial venture, and planted 30 acres at their Crawthorne Farm.

The Crawthorne vineyard spans 12 hectares planted with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier.

It is located on a sheltered south facing slope 90 metres above sea level.

The soil consists of a shallow clay loam, containing flint, over deep Cretaceous chalk.

The chalk soils provide the award-winning wines with a fresh, saline character.

The boutique winery produces between 50,000 and 60,000 bottles of exceptional quality sparkling wine per year priced from £29.50.

Justin heads up the passionate young team which includes winemaker Tommy Grimshaw.

Langham Wine Estate hosts regular events, tours and tastings.

Visitors can buy wine from the cellar door shop and relax with a drink or a meal at the Vineyard Café.

The tours, tastings and café relaunch next month, March.

  • In line with the major expansion, Langham Wine Estate is looking to grow its vineyard team. If you’re passionate about English wine and would like to work in the industry, please email justin@langhamwine.co.uk