In the early 1970s, Peter Hall was a pig farmer based in the South Downs, 7 km south of Lewes. When he decided to switch to agriculture, it may have been the influence of his Burgundian mother that encouraged him to try grapes rather than raspberries. Or maybe his thoughts were with the chalky soil and its association with the Champagne District. Whatever the reasons we can all be immensely grateful, for Hall's enterprise has been one of the pioneers and success stories of English Sparkling wine.
The vineyard was established in 1974 with 1.5 ha of vines, mainly Muller-Thurgau together with a small amount of Seyval Blanc. A small experimental plot was planted with a greater range of cultivars in 1976 including Aligoté, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Muscadet and Pinot Noir. The Muller-Thurgau had fruit set issues and from 1978-1981 the total production was a miserly 3,000 bottles. So in 1983 the vineyard was restructured with most of the Muller-Thurgau replaced with Seyval Blanc. The vineyard was expanded in 1986 and now covers a total of 2.5 ha. Vine cultivars include Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Munier.
Hall is not only the viticulturalist, but also the winemaker. Originally best known for Loire-style white wines, Breaky Bottom switched to producing only traditional method sparkling wines in 2004. Wines are 100% Seyval Blanc, 100% classic Champagne varietals, or sometimes a combination of both. The Kir Royal is produced by adding a small quantity of estate-produced Cassis at the time disgorgement.
Hall's achievements include not only having started a business from scratch, but also seeing his sparkling wines performing well in competition and being snapped up by consumers. The Sparkling Brut Seyval Blanc 2010 received a Gold Medal at the 2014 International Wine Challenge, while the Sparkling Brut Chardonnay/Pinot 2008 received Silver Medals at the International Wine Challenge in 2012 and 2013.
Visits to the vineyard are by appointment only.
(Images © Breaky Bottom)
Tel: 01273 476427
Winemaker: Peter Hall
Breaky Bottom Sparkling Seyval Blanc
Breaky Bottom Sparkling Chardonnay/Pinot
Breaky Bottom Kir Royal