Richard Balfour-Lynn is an entrepreneur who has made a handy fortune since founding a property investment group (Marylebone Warwick Balfour) in 1994. He also co-founded the Alternative Hotel Group in 2005, whose holdings include Malmaison and Hotel du Vin. So it would be fair to say that he knows a thing or two about establishing and running a business.
Hush Heath Estate was established in 2001 when the Balfour-Lynns acquired 160 ha of farmland and orchards surrounding their home at Hush Heath Manor in Kent. The first vineyard at Hush Heath was planted in 2002 on the site of a former orchard. Chardonnay (45%), Pinot Noir (45%) and Pinot Munier (10%) vines were planted over 1.7 ha with 1.3m between vines and a row spacing of 2.3m. This translates into a vine density of 3,344 vines/ha. Additional vineyards were planted in 2007 (0.3 ha), 2008 (3 ha), 2009 (4 ha) and 2011 (2.5 ha). The latest plantings have included a few hundred vines of Petit Mesiier, Arbane and Pinot Blanc, which are old traditional Champagne varietals.
Winemaker Owen Elias was previously with Chapel Down and is one of the most experienced in the UK. He is a four-time winner of the UKVA's Winemaker of the Year award.
The winery was constructed in 2010 and was available in time to crush that year's harvest. Equipment includes a 4 Ton Magnum press, stainless steel tanks, a bottling line and a giro-pallet.
The Hush Heath Estate is probably best known for its sparkling Rosé. The first Balfour Brut Rosé was the 2004 vintage, which came to prominence when it was awarded a Gold Medal at the International Wine Challenge in 2008. The 2005 vintage won a Gold Medal at the 2009 Decanter World Wine Awards and there have been many subsequent awards in different competitions. At the inaugural Champagne and Sparkling Wine World Championships (2014) their Blanc de Blancs 2010 received a Gold Medal. In addition to sparkling wines, Hush Heath also produces white, rosé and red table wines.
Guided and self-guided tours of the estate are available throughout the year