At Hambledon Vineyard we have the honour of sharing Her Majesty’s Jubilee – our vineyard was first planted in 1952, making it the oldest commercial vineyard in England. We have been in continuous production for 70 years now, crafting quality wines from grapes grown on perfect white chalk in the small village of Hambledon, Hampshire.
Much like Her Majesty's, Hambledon Vineyard's heritage is rich and full of fascinating characters (some of whom even cross paths). Which is why our Owner and Managing Director, Ian Kellett, will be sharing a series of short blogs ahead of the Jubilee Weekend in order to celebrate our joint Jubilees - starting with the below. Enjoy!
PART I - A TALE OF TWO COUNTRIES
1951, Hampshire, England.
Major General Sir Guy Salisbury-Jones is looking out of the window of his new house at Windmill Down in Hambledon, discussing with his step-son what to do with the fields in front of the house. His step son replies ‘well it is south facing and chalky, and you have always loved wine and the French... how about you plant a vineyard?’.
Sir Guy was a subaltern in World War 1, passed out of Sandhurst in December 1915 (what a time to graduate) and served in the trenches of France where he won the Military Cross. The French soldiers had wine rations - needless to say the British army had no such thing. These French men shared their allocated vinified grape juice with the British in the trenches and Sir Guy duly formed a bond with the French… and a love of wine.
After World War 2 Sir Guy served as Military attaché in the British embassy in Paris, which makes another story about Her Majesty serving our wine to President Pompidou at the British Embassy make even more sense. Subsequently Sir Guy was Aide de Camp to King George VI, and then Marshall of the Diplomatic Corps for both King George and then for our Queen, Elizabeth 2nd.
Still, back to the 1950s. Burgundy, France this time.
After a trip to the Hospice de Beaune Sir Guy is convinced. Having taken a sack of the vineyard soil to burgundy with them, the Burgundian opinion was that this would do just fine. Sir Guy has vines loaded onto the roof of his old Rover and returns to England and gets planting.
And so, the first commercial English vineyard of the modern era was born! Launched in 1952, the same year as the Coronation.
Hambledon Vineyard has always nurtured this precious link to our Queen’s reign. The Duchess of Cornwall kindly opened our new winery in 2013. Our wines are served by Her Majesty’s Government in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to international dignitaries. Her Majesty served our Hambledon Classic Cuvée Rosé to an American President at a State Banquet at Windsor Castle.
We feel honoured to share not just a jubilee with Her Majesty’s Coronation, but that sense of needing to protect the best of the past whilst improving it for the future. We will be raising a glass of Hambledon Premiere Cuvée to Queen Elizabeth II on 02.06.2022.
Owner & Managing Director,
Why not join us in raising a toast? We are thrilled to be hosting several 'Best of British' dining experiences this upcoming Jubilee weekend to celebrate Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II's Platinum Jubilee, as well as 70 years of outstanding quality wine from England's Oldest Commercial Vineyard Est. 1952.
Each experience will be hosted by our renowned Head-Chef, Nick, who will be carefully curating a veritable feast to enjoy within our well decorated marquee which overlooks spectacular views of our vineyard amongst the beauty of the South Downs.