In Episode 63 of The Drinking Hour, host David Kermode is joined by a winemaker he describes as ‘The Irish superstar of English wine’. Dermot Sugrue has blazed a trail on the English sparkling wine scene, first at Nyetimber, then Wiston Estate – and now at his very own Sugrue South Downs, where he and his wife Anna produce a distinctive range of premium wines.
Sugrue joins Kermode (from his honeymoon in Tenerife) to share his story, from experimenting with winemaking as a teenager to studying winemaking at Plumpton College, and how that led to him occupying some of the most influential roles in the recent English sparkling wine boom. He charts the Nyetimber Blanc de Blancs story (20 years on from the inaugural vintage), a disastrous harvest at the first vineyard he planted himself, and his approach to truly getting to know a wine’s terroir. He also shares what, in his eyes, makes English wine so special – and why conditions in the country lend themselves so very well to fizz.