Wine production has been a passion of our founder, Simon Fisher, for many years. Ever since he watched his mother make country wines as a child, fascinated by the process, the smells, sounds and the equipment she used.
It took a few years and a successful career in Architecture later to realise the dream and start producing wine commercially here in the UK.
West Fisher started production in 2009 as British wine producers initially and quickly migrated to producing only English wines just one year later.
By starting out as a winery, modelling our production on the California model of buying in grapes or leasing an area of a vineyard to make our wines we avoided a huge outlay initially and the usual 4 to 5 years most vineyards take to a viable marketable product.
Establishing a route to market we felt was key to a long term success in wine production before planting our own vineyard, this is still a long term goal and we have managed 2 privately owned vineyards in the past.
Wine production in the UK is growing rapidly, as an industry in 2016 we produced around seven million bottles of wine in the UK, up from five million the previous year and it is set to increase rapidly over the next decade..
English sparkling wine is recognised as being among the best, if not the very best sparkling wine money can buy. We are often asked why English Sparkling Wine has such a reputation and what makes it different. England is classified as a cool climate region, meaning we have a long and slow maturation of our fruit and this gives us many flavour characteristics or Phenolics that warmer climates simply do not achieve. Yes we face other challenges and we would be hard pressed to find a single vineyard owner in the UK who has not seen more than a few failed harvests, ourselves included.
We produce complex and dynamic sparkling wines that are multi dimensional, something that the warmer climates struggle with, there is also a lot of skill that goes into a Quality English Sparkling Wine.
We released our latest sparkling wine late last year, Dark Horse is a crisp and fruity Brut which sells for £22.49. As always a 20% discount applies to any purchase of 6 or more bottles.
The Cost of a Bottle of UK Wine
We used to get this a lot "Why does English wine cost so much?"
This I am glad to say is not a question we hear very often anymore, the quality and I would say the clarity of the production of our wines speaks volumes.
It is still unfortunately still true that the cost of produciing wine in the UK is high, each bottle produced means a tax payment of more than £2.09 to the UK government while in most of Europe there is no duty at all, UK labour costs are high and unlike Micro Breweries we do not enjoy any tax relief and I believe that has to change if we are to have any chance of competing on the international market. Cider producers pay zero tax under 7000 litres of production, at least we do benefit from that rate relief.
Where to Find Our Wines
The main outlet for our wines at present is farmers markets, trade fairs, country shows or from us directly either from our shop page or at the winery.
You can find our wines at the Village Green Farm Shop, Ockley and at their outlet in Denbies, we are also on the shelves of the Bourne Valley Farm Shop and more recently The Cobham Community Store in Gravesend.
We are keen to expand our number of outlets so if you run a farm shop, restaurant, tea room or cafe and are interested in stocking our wines, cider or our liqueurs please let us know and we can arrange samples and a trade price list to be sent out straight away.
Please visit our markets page for a current list of all markets for the month and any special events we are attending in the current month. Our news page lists big events coming up in the near future.
The South East Vineyard Association & UKVA
We are proud to be members of The South East Vineyards Association and are happy to promote English wine and wine production in the UK to it's full potential. The United Kingdom Vineyard Association represents the industry on key issues to Brussells and the HMRC in the UK
The South East Vineyards Association is a member based organisation based in the South East of England. The aim of SEVA is to promote and support wine producers in Kent, Surrey, Sussex and South London.
The head of the organisation for the last few years has been Chris Foss, a wine producer himself and lecturer at Plumpton Agricultural College. Chris has been an invaluable source of support and advice through the initial tentative steps taken to form West Fisher and through our growth in the last 6 years.
In January 2015 we officially took over the day to day running and maintenance of a lovely 10 acre vineyard located in Piltdown, East Sussex. .
Unfortunately the owners of the site were reluctant to invest in vital infastructure and left us with little of nothing in the way of equipment so we were facing an uphill struggle from the start.
After a very dissapointing harvest we were forced to conclude that the vineyard was not a viable option and would simply sap our resources with little of no benefit to us. We had no choice but to reluctantly pull out of the site at the end of the year.