Hazel End Vineyard

Mr & Mrs Charles Humphreys
Hazel End Vineyard
Bishop's Stortford
Herts CM23 1HG

Where are we

The vineyard is at Hazel End Farm, Bishop's Stortford, Herts CM23 1HG, in the pretty hamlet of Hazel End just over a mile north of Bishop’s Stortford. It is not open to the public but contact Charles Humphreys tel: 01279 812377 fax: 08707 052463 for wine.

History of the Vineyard

The first experiments with vine growing at Hazel End Farm began after the long hot summer of 1976 when English wines were in their infancy. After trying and rejecting two other sites on the farm, the vineyard was established in its present location in the early 1990s and the 1996 harvest of nearly 2 tonnes provided the first commercial vintage.

Vine varieties

The vineyard comprises roughly equal numbers of four varieties, all of which ripen in early to mid-October and are noted for their quality, yields and suitability to the English climate;
Bacchus- with large greeny-yellowish grapes in large bunches; this variety has become popular here with its distinctive flavour and good acidity and sugar; Huxelrebbe has very large yellowish grapes in extra large bunches; middling acidity and high sugar;
Muller-Thurgau a cross between riesling and sylvaner and widely planted in England, has large loose bunches of golden grapes and middling sugar and acidity Reichensteiner, with medium to large yellowish grapes and excellent sugar levels.
The vineyard has found that these four varieties blend well to produce a wine in the English style, light, aromatic and dry.


The vineyard extends to just under 3 acres and is 73m above sea level. The soil is a flinty silt with good drainage. A grove of Italian alders and a beech hedge have been planted to provide protection from the prevailing west wind. All the vines are planted at 2.44m x 1.22m and are trained on the Double Guyot system.

Wine making

The vineyard does not have its own winery and the grapes are taken immediately after picking to English Wines Group in Tenterden, the largest winery in the UK, which includes Chapeldown and Lamberhurst among its labels. There the wine is made under the supervision of Owen Elias, named, again, in 2005 as UK Vineyards Association’s winemaker of the year.

Until 2001, the vineyard produced only still wine under its Hazel End label but the decision was taken to make sparkling wine from the 2001 harvest and the results have been so successful that the large 2003 harvest has been similarly treated. It takes two years to make sparkling wine by the traditional method and the price (£12.50 a bottle) is bound to reflect that (every bottle attracts duty of £1.65 plus VAT) but we believe the result is worth it!

Why “Three Squirrels”?

Hazel End has, for two hundred years, been Gosling territory. Since the 17th century a sign depicting three squirrels has hung outside 19 Fleet Street, formerly Goslings Bank and now Barclays, where Samuel Pepys records that he dropped in for “a pint of wine”.
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