England’s leading sparkling wine label is thriving – and it is easy to see why.

The Nyetimber estate, in West Sussex, appears in the Domesday Book. It once belonged to Henry VIII, who gave it to Anne of Cleves when their marriage dissolved. It wasn’t until four centuries later, in 1988, that the first vines were planted there.

In 2006, a Dutchman called Eric Heerema bought the glorious South Downs estate, with a view to maximising the vineyard’s potential. With his clever husbandry, and excellent soil conditions, Nyetimber has become England’s leading sparkling wine.

He says: ‘Greensand and chalk soils allow our vines, in each of our separate sites, to flourish across the south of England. The climate here allows for the slow ripening of our grapes, allowing us to achieve the optimum levels of ripeness and acidity, as well as the complexity and finesse for which our exquisite wines are renowned.’

Here, we list the reasons to love the award-winning label.


It has longevity. Heerema – who lives with his wife and children in a 16th-century manor house on the estate – says: ‘I don’t think in years but in generations.’


Nyetimber, which is made from a blend of the classic champagne grapes, chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier, has won English Wine Producer of the Year a staggering eight times at the International Wine & Spirits Competition. In 2018, Nyetimber’s head winemaker Cherie Spriggs became the first woman and the first person outside Champagne to be named ‘Sparkling Winemaker of the Year’ at the International Wine Challenge.


Nyetimber was served on the barge at the late Queen’s Diamond and Platinum Jubilee celebrations, at the London 2012 Summer Olympics and is part of the world-famous afternoon tea spread at The Savoy.


The environment is at the heart of the company. They say: ‘We’re determined that enjoying a glass of Nyetimber should never come at the expense of the land that we cultivate.’ The vineyards are thus managed with the principle of minimum intervention; waste from the winemaking process is composted and returned to the land; and the team is constantly working to increase the sustainability of the vineyard.


As well as a flourishing centre of viticulture, Nyetimber is a happy family home. Heerema’s wife, Hannah, says: ‘Living on a vineyard is magical. It’s enchanting to watch the changes of the seasons. Every week, every month it’s evolving.

‘I love it in all seasons, but particularly in winter. The purity of the house — the bare beams, the stone — means we can decorate it in a fun and festive way. Around Christmas the house comes to life.’


The Nyetimber Bus is a charming element of the label’s offering. The beautifully reimagined 1968 Routemaster bus rolls into various iconic British events – at country houses, high-end markets and society gatherings – throughout the year and welcomes guests to enjoy a glass of England’s finest sparkling wine in total luxury.


Delicious though our favourite Champagne labels are, it is a pleasure to drink Nyetimber knowing that it is the fruit of home-grown grapes and talent. The UK wine industry is booming. As the wine writer Victoria Moore says: ‘In the last decade, English wine has moved forward extremely rapidly. We have more vineyards; the wines have improved; the reputation of the wines has grown.’


Nyetimber’s beautiful website is a balm for the soul. On it, you can shop the wines, with detailed notes about each vintage and free shipping on orders over £70, read up on the label’s history and immerse yourself in photographs of the enchanting estate.


Nyetimber is pretty as a picture and well worth a visit. The estate hosts lunches, dinners and open days (and weddings on request) at which they pair their wines with canapes and several unforgettable courses.


Following a record harvest in 2020, last year was a record one for Nyetimber. The company saw a 57 percent sales increase on the previous year. Aided by the talented winemakers he hired in 2007, Cherie Spriggs and Brad Greatrix, and a new CEO, Heerema’s exciting ambition is to sell two million bottles a year by 2030. He says: ‘Over the recent years Nyetimber has gone from strength to strength, yet we still have to complete crucial stages of our ambitious mission.’

By Becky Ladenburg
November 2022

Becky Ladenburg

Features Editor

As the GWG's features editor, Becky has her discerning finger on the cultural pulse. She's also our go-to expert on the property market.