In 1991, while simultaneously working for a vineyard in Hampshire, Will Davenport planted 5 acres of vines at Horsmonden in Kent. Not that he knew it then, but this was the beginning of a life-long business as a wine producer.
A keen advocate of organic farming, Davenport converted all the vines and winery to organic systems in 2000. Though this was a huge risk at the time, the decision paid off no end as the vines are in perfect shape, the quality of grapes is second to none, and the wines bear a character that simply could never have been achieved using chemical methods.
The estate, now standing at over 24 acres, is a biodiverse paradise, with wildflower meadows and unmanaged hedges providing habitats for wildlife; they even have a pair of breeding Kestrels! Wines are made using as little energy as possible (most of which is generated by solar panels) and without fining, filtration, or unnecessary sulphur.
Will has also been at the forefront of establishing the notion of ‘Terroir’ in the UK, meaning that the Davenport wines taste very English, and setting new benchmarks for English natural wine with wines like his Horsmonden Dry. Less is more for Davenport, and his soft, soulful wines are a true expression of his nature first philosophy.
Obviously, all of this plus the UK climate, even if he is down South, means that producing natural wine has been no mean feat. It feels like stating the obvious but natural wine production does not cope well with the English weather and the rain. Bit like us to be completely honest.