The Drinking Hour podcast: Toasting English Wine Week with Black Chalk’s Zoë Driver

In episode 166, David Kermode marks English Wine Week with Zoë Driver, winemaker at the critically acclaimed Black Chalk Wine. The pair discuss the thrill of living through the emergence of the English sparkling wine scene and the importance of experimentation in Driver's work

Words by Club Oenologique Editors

The Drinking Hour podcast 166 cover
Winemaker Zoë Driver with the team at Black Chalk Wine

To mark the start of English Wine Week 2024 (Saturday 15 June to Sunday 23 June), David Kermode talks to one of the rising stars in English wine Zoë Driver, who is winemaker at the critically acclaimed Black Chalk Wine.

Driver charts her entry into wine, which saw her fall in love with viticulture after her travels led her to work on an Australian vineyard. After returning to the UK, she became the country’s first winemaking apprentice at Hattingley Valley Wines, and it was there that she met the person who would go on to found Black Chalk, Jacob Ledley.

Driver recounts the early days of Black Chalk and how the team planted the 30 acres of vines that make up the vineyard today. Kermode also uncovers the challenges that come with producing English sparkling wine, including the vast changes in climate year-on-year – with Driver explaining how Black Chalk manages subsequent acidity levels in the wine. Finally, the pair talk through some of Black Chalk’s latest releases, discussing how they were born out of a desire to experiment.

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