Tillingham is a vineyard and winery set amongst 70 acres of rolling hills and woodlands in East Sussex. This mixed farm, which dates from the 14th century, is also home to fruit trees, ancient woodland, and livestock. The recently renovated farmstead provides a place for visitors to stay and enjoy the produce of the farm and the local area. We have a restaurant and bar as well as a shop, where we stock our own wines and ciders along with those made in a similar ethos from around the world.
Our philosophy at Tillingham would be best summarised as progressive: incorporating what we know of the latest scientific and technological knowledge, whilst championing collective ancient traditions and best practices from millennia of farming and winemaking.
We are committed to regenerative farming: a diverse, poly-cultural methodology. We believe this is not only a highly sustainable approach, but in conjunction with biodynamic practices will restore soils to an optimum level of organic matter, including microbial and ecological diversity. We currently do not have organic nor biodynamic certification, preferring instead to borrow best practices from both systems amongst others to achieve the best results.
Planted across 2018 and 2019, our vineyard will see its first harvest in 2020. Among the more traditional varietals such as Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Blanc, we also have plantings of Gamay, Trousseau, and Pineau d’Aunis. Some of these newly planted vines are the first of their kind in the UK, and we look forward to experimenting with the results. The fruit for our current wines comes from a number of different growers based in Kent, Sussex, and Essex, working in a variety of ways from the more conventional, ‘lutte raisonée’ style, to fully organic or biodynamic.
In the cellar, we follow a low-intervention approach to winemaking; ‘nothing added, nothing taken away’ is perhaps the best way to understand our methodology. All of our wines are fermented by naturally occurring yeasts, do not undergo fining or filtration, and very rarely have any sulphur dioxide added – never more than 20ppm, and only if we feel it is absolutely necessary. Our philosophy in the cellar is a playful one, and we continually experiment with different fermentation and ageing vessels, most notably with Georgian qvevri.