Lucy and Ben started their vineyard from scratch following an idea inspired by a (possibly over-enthusiastic) wine tasting session. They sold up everything and moved to Brighton so that Ben could study winemaking at Plumpton College. After qualifying they found the perfect site in 2007 at Huxbear Farm near Chudleigh in Devon. The south-east facing slope offers ideal protection from late frosts.
Our growing conditions are closer to Champagne and the Loire than the more arid conditions that produce robust big reds, for example. The climate and soil here bring out the delicacy and subtlety that a lot of discerning wine buyers are looking for.
Which wine do you like to make the most?
Our Classic Sparkling Wine. We use the Champagne method because it creates reliable and great tasting wines, but we’re not trying to create an English version of Champagne. We control the blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier very carefully and leave it to age on the lees for no more than 24 months. We also avoid oak ageing to keep the wine fresh and distinctively Devonian.
The Huxbear vineyard is set in the lush, gently sloping hills near Chudleigh in Devon. Ben and Lucy Hulland who own and run the business describe themselves as makers of boutique English wine, which neatly sums up their approach to wine making.
They don’t aspire to producing large volumes (the 16 acre vineyard currently produces around 15 thousand bottles per year). It’s all about producing unique wines that they can be proud of.
When they started to plant vines Ben and Lucy were keen to retain the name of the farm. Looking up at the night sky they noticed that the Great Bear constellation was directly over the vineyard. This ties neatly with the name Huxbear. They like to think of their precious vines being under the watchful protection of the Great Bear.
Huxbear Vineyard is completely off-grid: their power is generated using solar panels, rain water is harvested to irrigate the vines and compost toilets are in operation!