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Our History

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.

Vision

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, Balfour Winery was officially on the wine map.

Over the following years, co-founders 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 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

Hush Heath Estate has been part of the Balfour-Lynn family for three generations, but it wasn’t until Richard and Leslie purchased the 400-acre farmland attached to Hush Heath Estate that Balfour Winery’s story began.

It was Leslie’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. And so, five acres were planted with an aim to produce a wine they would love. “If we can’t sell it”, they thought, “we’ll drink it”.

Fortunately, 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 did not 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”.

Awards

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. His son, Fergus Elias is following in his footsteps, as one of England’s youngest winemakers.