Dec 12, 2020
My guest today is the creative, unconventional, and rather brilliant Willy Wonka of British wine. Ben Walgate is pushing the boundaries of winemaking in the UK - from the grape varieties he uses, the styles of wine he’s producing, his combination of aging methods, to his vision for the farm and his wine.
Ben started Tillingham 3 years ago, on a gorgeous farm in East Sussex. When he took over the farm, there weren’t any vineyards on the land so he’s had to buy in grapes grown in the area to make his wine, while he set about planting his own vines (of which they’re around 35,000 now). This really is just the beginning for Tillingham…
I’m in awe of what Ben has created in such a short space of time - aside from the fact that he has an incredible gift for winemaking and his wines are so acclaimed, not just in the UK but by some of the world’s top restaurants, he’s also set up a beautiful guesthouse and restaurant on the property which uses produce grown and reared on the farm.
We recorded the episode in the winery at Tillingham, and Ben and I chat about the farm and how it came to be, and of course we talk about the wine and some of Ben’s methods. Ben is so charismatic, and his love for wine is infectious. I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did.