Making English wines since 1991
- ABOUT US -
In 1991 Will Davenport planted 5 acres of vines at Horsmonden in Kent, while simultaneously working for a Hampshire vineyard and, unintentionally, this became the beginning of a life-long business as a wine producer.
By 2016 the vineyards had increased to 24 acres, grown on 5 parcels of land, 9 grape varieties and a multitude of soil types and micro-climates. The vineyards are mostly at Horsmonden in Kent, with a smaller vineyard next to the winery at Rotherfield, East Sussex.
Will was always a keen supporter of organic farming and in 2000 he made the decision to convert all the vines and winery to organic systems, certified by the Soil Association. At the time this was a huge risk, but ultimately the vines are in great shape, the fruit quality is second to none, and the wines show a depth of character that we believe could not be achieved with the use of chemicals in the vineyard and winery.
The winery is at our East Sussex site in Rotherfield, capable of making up to 70,000 bottles of wine per year. Our own production is around 40,000 bottles, depending of the weather and crop yield each year.
The vines are managed by Ben Connor, Plumpton graduate and generally all-round hard worker. Ben has been working at Davenport Vineyards since his school days so he has a tonne of experience.
In the winery Will Davenport takes care of the wines with Ben Connor. Will studied winemaking at Roseworthy Agricultural College in Australia, worked in the London wine trade and has done a variety of stints working in Alsace, California, Australia and the UK before setting up his own winery. Will also looks after the rest of the farm at Rotherfield which includes a small flock of Wiltshire Horn sheep, some bees and a lot of wildlife and woodland.
In 2022 Davenport Vineyards took on the management of a much larger farm, owned by Will's mother. This includes 43 acres of non-organic vineyards and 70 acres of apple orchards. The non-organic grapes are sold to another winery and the plan is to move the management towards being organic over a period of 5 years, giving the established vines and the soil time to adjust.
The winery dog is called Marvin, although he's not often seen in the winery these days as he gets older!