Our Story

Three Generations of the Barnes family

Here at Biddenden Vineyards, Kent’s original commercial vineyard, we pride ourselves on being a family run vineyard with the second and third generation of the Barnes family managing the estate.

Joyce Barnes

Originally home to a 40 acre apple orchard, the Barnes family started to consider diversifying the farm in the late 1960s as apple prices began to decline. After listening to a feature on the BBC’s Woman’s Hour programme about English vineyards being replanted, Mrs. Barnes was inspired to turn to viticulture. In 1969, one third of an acre of vines was planted and Biddenden Vineyards was born.

Today our single estate vineyard spans 23 acres of gentle south facing slopes situated in a sheltered valley, just outside the picturesque Wealden village of Biddenden. 11 different grape varieties are grown here to produce our array of award-winning White, Rosé, Red and Sparkling English wines.

Julian and his eldest son Tom look after all of the vineyard management and winemaking at Biddenden.

The knowledge which the family has built up through experience over the years can be seen in the quality and consistency of the wines produced year on year.

From the first Biddenden wine, which was bottled around 1972-3, production has now grown to around 80,000 bottles per year. All vine work on the estate is still carried out by hand, including pruning, canopy management and picking, with harvest running from mid to late September right through to November.

Great effort is made to ensure that the estate wines produced are of the highest quality, which is reflected by the number of awards we receive.

In the featured picture:
Sally and Julian Barnes receiving the Berwick Trophy and Jack Ward Memorial Salver for Best Wine ‘Ortega 2008’ at the English and Welsh Wine of Year Awards at the House of Lords, July 2009.