Working in wine production in England at the moment is a hugely exciting place to be. Viticultural regions are only born once and it doesn’t happen very often so to find oneself in the right place at the right time feels very lucky indeed' - Josh Donaghay‑Spire Chapel Down Wine maker.
Josh's career with Chapel Down started as an Assistant Winemaker at the beginning of 2010 and he was promoted to Winemaker at the end of 2013. Since he started with Chapel Down the changes that have been implemented were gradual but important. The introduction of malolactic fermentation was started in order to better manage the naturally high acidity found in English grapes. This has meant that Josh has been able to lower dosage levels to between 6g/l and 9g/l which allows the fruit flavours to be more naturally expressive. Josh has also introduced the judicious and limited use of barrels in some of Chapel Down's top sparkling wines as well as in some of the single vineyard still wines. Josh explains that 'this brings complexity and important texture to the mid-palate of our wines'.
With every year that passes Josh and Chapel Down learn more about the terroir that they grow there vines on and these lessons are applied to the new vineyard plantings.
Prior to working for Chapel Down Josh studied Viticulture and Oenology at Plumpton College on the South coast of England. He gained experience working in vineyards and wineries in South Africa, England, Champagne and Alsace. All of this was with the target of returning to the county of his birth to be a part of, as he describes it, 'the English Wine revolution'.
Chapel Down is England’s leading wine producer and one of the UK’s most exciting drinks brands. Chapel Down produces award winning sparkling wines using the Traditional Method and fresh and vibrant still wines from fruit sourced from the South-East of England. A member of the Walpole collection of luxury British brands, an official Cool Brand and a supplier to many prestigious venues across the UK and beyond.
Set amongst 22 acres of vineyards, recognised as an ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’, the Chapel Down winery has excellent facilities for visitors including a two AA Rosette and Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurant and a shop stocking wines, spirits, beer and a variety of local produce. Chapel Down offers guided tours and gift experiences, visitors are also welcome to explore the grounds, the herb garden and vineyard walks.
For more on Chapel Down click here.