Tillingham is a young winery near Rye in East Sussex. Ben Walgate, head honcho, is no stranger to the world of wine, having previously been Chief Executive of Gusborne, one of the of the UK’s leading sparkling wine producers. He’s now gone rogue and heads up on of the most left-of-centre and simultaneously traditional estates in the UK.
Home Farm, Tillingham HQ, dates back to the 13th century and boasts vineyards, fruit trees, ancient woodland and livestock. Since taking over the vineyards, Ben has worked tirelessly to restore vitality to the soil through the use of biodynamic preparations, cover crops such as mustard, vetch and radish , and copious amounts of compost. This is all to produce the highest quality fruit possible and wines with real distinction. Since then Ben has planted 10,000 plants comprising thirteen grape varieties (so far).
It's Ben’s choice of fermenting vessels that has provided the most significant point of difference. After meeting John Wurdeman, the American artist so central in helping to revive the fortunes of Georgian orange wine through his involvement in the Pheasant’s Tears winery, Ben was convinced of the alluring possibilities of using Georgian qvevri (terracotta amphora) as a fermenting vessel.