In 1990, David and Pauline Grey decided that the time had come to leave London and take on a new challenge. They enjoyed visiting vineyards so when they spotted a property (Norway House) with land on Kent's North Downs they decided to take the plunge. They took advice from the late viticulturalist Gillian Pearkes, bought 10,000 vines and in 1991 with help from family and friends, hand planted the vines on a 2 ha south-east facing site.
The site is planted with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Madeleine Angevine, Reichensteiner and Triomphe varietals which have been grown according to organic principles. Rather than establish a winery the grapes were shipped for vinification into still and sparkling wines by Chapel Down until 2007. Since 2008 the sparkling wine production has been handled under contract by Wiston Estate (Dermot Sugrue) and the still wines by New Hall (Piers Greenwood) with assistance from Vivid Wines.
Although Meopham Valley can rightly claim to have garnered a fair few awards in its time, it's probably also fair to say that overall the wines have lacked quality consistency and have only rarely (such as the Meopham Valley Sparkling Brut 2008) attained top honours.
In 2013 Norway House, the vineyard and adjacent land was put up for sale with a guide price of £775,000; this was subsequently raised to £1,275,000 in 2014 including 2013 stock. In November 2014 Meopham Valley was sold to Surjit and Ben Bassi who have had an 18 year association with the property through undertaking vineyard maintenance. The new owners plan to maintain and later expand the vineyard and it could be that with due care, attention and investment, the best days for Meopham Valley might still lie ahead of it.