Sam Linter is the MD and chief winemaker at the Bolney Wine Estate. Founded by Sam’s parents in 1972, the Bolney Estate is smashing stereotypes about English wine.
Sam’s dedication to her craft has earned the estate a portfolio of 10 award-winning wines. We had a chat with Sam about the journey that they have taken and the challenges facing English winemaking.
What was it like taking over the business from your parents?
Very challenging. In the early days it was very much a male-dominated industry. However, there was a huge support for females coming in and as one of the first female winemakers in England I benefited hugely from that. The main challenge was in the experimentation to work out which varieties worked with our climate and soil types. This required carefully building a strong and passionate team with the knowledge and experience needed to make award-winning wines.
What’s your career highlight so far?
In 2012 we won a Gold Outstanding medal for our Blanc de Blancs and were also awarded UK Wine Producer of the year in the IWSC. That was a fantastic year, but this year has been even better. We have won a record six gold medals for our wines, along with a double-trophy for our Pinot Gris in the UK Wine Awards and we were also named winery of the year. Finally, we were also awarded a gold medal for our Cellar Door in the International Wine Challenge, which is a wonderful accolade for our visitors centre which is just over a year old.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome at Bolney Wine Estate?
Lack of available stock. English wine is a growing market, but our small production volume makes it very hard to keep up with demand for the product and hang on to precious listings.
Are there any Dots speakers whom you’re particularly looking forward to?
Actually all of them but a couple of them stand out for me; Gemma Cairney and Sam Conniff.
What does the future look like for English winemaking?
English wine has a very bright future and export is something many of us are focusing heavily on the moment. At Bolney we are increasing our exports, including exporting to America and Japan.
To hear more from Sam, as well as the other fantastic speakers, join us for Dots on Friday 29th September – get your ticket.