Trotton Estate Vineyards are owned by Robin and Carolyn Butler. Robin and Carolyn enjoyed many years playing polo at nearby Cowdray Park Polo Club. Having bought land for their much loved polo ponies, when both horses and riders retired and there were only a few of their favourite ponies left they had to decide what to do with their empty fields.
The usual and the more unusual came to mind, cattle, sheep, llamas . . . until they were driving along the A272 between Petworth and Midhurst and saw vineyards by established producers such as Nyetimber and Upperton. They realised that their fields at their home in Trotton were on the same belt of green sand together with similar south facing slopes.
The decision was made. They wanted to make an English Sparkling Wine from traditional French grapes and they wanted a Frenchman to make it for them but they wanted it to be fresh and modern. In 2013 they planted their first vineyard with Pinot Noir, Pinto Meunier and Chardonnay. However, Carolyn also wanted to make a still white wine and so snuck in some Bacchus and her masterstroke of Pinot Gris. After three summers, they began to realise that the quality of their grapes was quite exceptional so, in 2015, they decided to plant a further two vineyards.
They produced their first still white wine in 2015, their Brilliant Bacchus with a dash of Pinot Gris. It immediately won a Silver Medal at the Sommeliers Wine Awards 2017. Their second harvest in 2016 produced the same result. 2017 was a difficult harvest so they were not confident about the hat trick . . . but while it wasn’t a Silver Medal they were awarded the only English Bronze so they were very happy with that!
After five exciting years, they have just launched their first Spectacular English Sparkling Brut Classic Cuvée made from traditional French grapes and made by not one but two Frenchmen. It is truly spectacular. It has been blind tasted against the best of the Champagne houses and wins every time. It has already been acclaimed by their customers as the best English Sparkling ever.
Watch this vineyard. It’s small but you know the saying . . . ‘big things come in small packages’.