Co-founders Richard and Leslie Balfour-Lynn planted their first vineyards in 2002 on the beautiful Hush Heath Estate, and five years later, Balfour Brut Rosé 2004 became the first English wine to win a gold medal and the Trophy at the International Wine Challenge. Balfour was firmly on the wine map and has remained there ever since.
Putting English Wine on the Map
When 10,000 bottles of Balfour Brut Rosé, made from the first harvest in 2004, won a gold medal at the International Wine Challenge in 2007, the Estate was officially on the wine map and there was no turning back. An exciting journey to create England’s finest wine had begun.
Over the following years, Richard and Leslie formed a team of viticultural and winemaking experts who assisted them in creating a state-of-the-art Winery and tasting room on the Hush Heath Estate, which opened in 2010. In 2018 both the winery and tasting room was greatly expanded and is now one of the best visitor and winemaking facilities in England.
The Balfour-Lynn Family
Turning a Passion into a Legacy
The Hush Heath Estate has been part of the Balfour-Lynn family for three generations, but it wasn’t until Richard and Leslie, our co-founders, purchased the 400-acre farmland attached to Hush Heath Estate that the Balfour Winery story began.
As the saying goes, behind every great man there stands a great woman, and with the Balfour-Lynn family, nothing could be more true. It was Leslie Balfour-Lynn’s idea to plant the original vines at Hush Heath in 2002, with a view to making a pink sparkling wine of equivalent quality to Billecart Salmon Rosé – their favourite pink Champagne. Five acres were planted purely as a hobby but with a professional approach aimed at producing a wine they personally loved. As Richard is always saying, their original philosophy was “if we can’t sell it, we’ll drink it!”. Indeed every wine produced by the Balfour Winery is loved by Richard and Leslie or it isn’t produced.
Fortunately for English wine, when Balfour Brut Rosé was launched in 2004 it quickly became a major success, winning a gold medal and trophy in the International Wine Challenge for its first vintage. The accolades didn’t stop there and Balfour Brut Rosé was the first English Sparkling wine served on British Airways First Class worldwide. It was also chosen as the only English wine to be served at the London 2012 Olympics. It has truly earned its title of “England’s most exclusive pink fizz”.
With over 200-acres of vineyards planted, production is set to increase to between 500,000 and 850,000 bottles per year, in the coming years.
RECOGNITION OF OUR COMMITMENT TO QUALITY
Having won a gold medal and trophy in the International Wine Challenge for our first vintage of our iconic Balfour Brut Rosé, we are proud to be one of the wineries leading the way for English Wine. Our most recent award was a first for English red wines-the IWC awarded The Red Miller the National English red trophy- this is the first time in the competition’s 36 year history that an English Red wine has received this prestigious accolade.
Awards are not exclusively for our wines, Owen Elias has been making wine at Balfour since our very first vintage in 2004 and we are proud to say has been awarded UK Winemaker of the Year on six occasions. Son Fergus Elias is following in Owen’s footsteps and is one of England’s youngest winemakers.