Head Winemaker for Balfour Winery at the Hush Heath Estate, Fergus Elias (Ferg)’s passion for English winemaking is in his blood. Growing up around his father Owen’s own illustrious winemaking career, Ferg spent his childhood days on the land at Chapel Down surrounded by disgorging lines, bottling and fascinatedly watched as fruit was transformed from vine to wine.
Despite a brief foray into ancient history, with visions of pursuing a career in law, after graduating from the University of Liverpool, Ferg found his way back to his Kentish - and winemaking roots, joining the Balfour Winery in 2014. Thankfully, where he began rising through the ranks, completing an MSC in Viticulture and Oenology on the way. After three years working as assistant to Head Winemaker, he undertook the coveted role of Head Winemaker in 2019. This is no mean feat - Ferg is one of England’s youngest Head Winemakers - a testament to his unwavering dedication.
As part of the Balfour wines’ first ever winemaker’s collection, Ferg released his first own-label wine, This Septered Isle, 2018. On course to become one of England’s finest winemakers, Ferg’s talents extend far beyond the grapevine. He’s a keen cricketer, avid chess player and amateur poet, amongst other things. His wordsmithery even finds its way into his day-to-day running of the Balfour Winery - his slogan is ‘crush grapes, not dreams’, and you’ll find that mantra emblazoned on the uniforms of his winery teammates.
Not one to adhere to traditions, Ferg looks to make wines with texture, complexity and body, a far cry from the hallmarks of traditional English wines. Always looking for a new challenge, an exciting future of English winemaking lies in the hands of Ferg and Balfour Wines.