As the name suggests, Danbury Ridge is located South East of the village of Danbury in Essex. The county has the highest growing season temperatures and lowest rainfall in the UK combined with some of the highest terrestial suitability for viticulture.
The village sits on a hill which is the highest point in the county although the altitude of the vineyards is just 40-47m above sea level. The Estate is situated between the Blackwater estuary to the north and the river Crouch to the south which have significant influence over the favourable climate for winegrowing enjoyed in the region.
Danbury Ridge is located in the warmest and driest part of the UK with average growing season temperatures over 17°C and rainfall of just 540mm. In 2018, our vineyards’ experienced 1,039 growing degree days. The estate slopes gently southwards which optimises the vines’ exposure to the sun. The vineyards have minimal wind exposure as they are protected from south westerly wind by Slough House Wood.
In drought conditions, the vineyards benefit from the provision of a fully-automated drip watering system. The dedicated reservoir on the estate holds 6 million litres of rainwater to irrigate the vines. However, irrigation is never used to increase yields but rather to maintain the best leaf conditions throughout the season to ensure the highest possible levels of ripeness can be reached.
Danbury hill is capped with a thick layer of sandy gravel that dates from the last Ice Age underlain by London Clay bedrock. Our vines are grown on a combination of light, gravelly, sandy loam and a heavier silty clay loam to varying degrees – vineyards located on the West of the estate have a greater gravel component than those to the East.
Vine rows are planted at an alley width of 2 meters and vines have a planting distance of 1.3 meters. This allows sufficient space between the plants to encourage an optimal level of vine vigour, sunlight interception and air ventilation.