I recently heard about Kinsbrook from a local Facebook Community page that shares local experiences and beautiful imagary from hidden, little-known places to visit in Sussex.
So last Sunday we piled our labrador and roley-eyed teenagers into our car and headed just 23 minutes up the A24 to West Chiltington to see for ourselves what Kinsbrook had to offer families like ours.
Upon arrival, we were greeted from a beautifully converted Horsebox by a very smiley Joseph, the founder of Kinsbrook and our Barista for the day. Joseph and Becca were so welcoming and open about sharing the story of Joseph’s family land, their grapes, their wines and his plans for the vineyard over the next 10 years. I was struck by his passion for his craft, and became immediately invested in watching his vision grow in the coming years. Joseph and his family are literally putting down roots! I didn’t realise at the time of our visit but have subsequently discovered that Joseph is, in fact, the youngest Vineyard owner in the UK. He studied locally at Plumpton College on the outskirts of Brighton, and when he talks about the infrastructure they are putting in place at Kinsbrook, he means that he and his family are literally putting it in place with their own hands. Joseph and his small team are digging the land, creating ponds for wildlife to flourish, irrigating, ploughing and planting.
Kinsbrook represents new life – and for those who visit there in it’s early stages will have the benefit of being able to say in years to come, ‘I was there at the beginning’.
‘We’ve borrowed this part their story directly from their website, because we wanted to share it in their own words (apologies – we hope you’ll forgive us!) …
‘ Joseph and his family have planted a total of 44,500 vines so far, across three sites. The Orchard Site was the first vineyard to be planted in May 2017. In the 20th Century, the field was used to grow apples and pears to make English cider. The site is made up of 19,500 vines. You can read more about the Orchard Site in the Kinsfolk section of their website. The Pension Field was planted second, in 2018. This field is their smallest block with only 3,500 vines. It is solely Pinot Meunier. ‘Picketty 1’ was planted the same year, with 12,500 vines. A further planting of 9,000 vines took place at ‘Picketty 2’ in 2019. The 40 acre site will continue to expand through the years as Kinsbrook grows in size. This vineyard is to become the family’s main site devoted to local and national Wine Tourism. You can read more about this the the Our Vision section of their website. The three grapes traditionally used to make a cuvée (blended) sparkling wine are Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. The team at Kinsbrook have planted these three varieties, along with Bacchus, Pinot Gris and Précoce (early ripening) Pinot Noir.’
At the moment the site in West Chiltington consists of acres and acres of lush vines, a brook and a pond, a beautifully restored Horsebox serving delicious coffees, cakes and soft drinks, and a pair of high-end portaloos (no actual wine yet until they get their license!). Whilst this may not sound appealing in terms of facilities, for those of you with children and/or dogs who love the outdoors, who need some socially-distanced fresh air and want to learn about and be a part of supporting a truly local business, Kinsbrook is perfect! Every penny you spend on coffees and cakes goes straight back into the land.
Both your little people and your fur-babies can literally run wild, nowhere is off-limits, and you’re well set back from any traffic or roads so no need to worry about that. If you are a keen cyclist then Kinsbrook is a welcome pit-stop in the middle of the beautiful Sussex Countryside. Joseph and his team will gladly tell you all about their land, their exciting building plans starting after the summer and what you can expect to see on the horizon for the vineyard. They are friendly, welcoming and their passion shines through in bucket-loads.