Meet Henry Warde, owner of Squerryes
Talking wine with Squerryes owner Henry Warde
We catch up with the boss to chat about life on our Westerham estate…
As the eight generation of the Warde family, owner Henry has wine flowing through his veins. His forefathers began planting vines here over 300 years ago, so there’s nothing he doesn’t know about producing premium English sparkling. Read on to find out what drives him to bottle joy in Kent…
When did you start planting vines?
In September 2004, we were approached by a Champagne house that was looking to expand. We’d never considered growing vines, but realised that the geology and topography of Champagne was very similar to Squerryes. So, we decided to plant our own vines in 2006.
What’s been the greatest challenge to date?
We’re right on the edge of great conditions for growing Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier. This means that some years are very tough to grow, but we also harvest right at the end of the season, which produces a really wonderful wine
Do you have a favourite vintage?
The vintages are like my children, so it’s hard to pick, because they’re so different. We’re releasing our 2015 to members this Christmas, which is probably my favourite; it’s going to be a classic, particularly as the wine matures with time in the bottle.
What is special and unique about the Squerryes brand?
I think what makes us unique is the spirit of our house – born from the family motto ‘Licet Esse Beatis’ (‘it is permitted to be joyful’) that has sat above our front door for nearly 300 years. It is at the heart of everything we do, from the wine we make to the places and spaces we create for people to visit.
Who would you like to share a bottle of Squerryes with most?
The Roman Centurion who was granted the swath of land on the North Downs and planted vines on the exact site of our vineyard. I would like to compare notes and share a glass of our respective wines.