From Small Acres Great Sparkling Wines Can Grow

Crguk-Wine

How a husband and wife turned their one acre into a small vineyard and started producing delicious English Sparkling Wine, this is an interesting story!

Every year that goes by, the English Sparkling Wine industry develops and reaches new heights, but it isn’t just the big wineries that are helping to further the knowledge and reputation of English Fizz, it is often showcased perfectly by the smaller producers that are able to craft something new and adventurous.

We have a lot of choices now when it comes to choosing quality English Sparkling Wine, from the big wineries like Bolney Wine Estate, the more exclusive and one of the finest, Fox & Fox Mayfield, to then discovering the smaller, very personal winemakers of the likes of Goodworth.

I reached out to Cecilia Haszlakiewicz, one of the owners of Goodworth and asked her a few questions, one of them referenced the blossoming English Sparkling Wine Industry, ‘English Sparkling Wine has really bloomed in the last 10 years, are you excited to be part of this growing trend?’ let’s see what she has to say about it.

“Absolutely, but perhaps from a rather more ‘romantic’ than ‘commercial’ point of view. At our age, and at our size (one acre) what really excites us is the creation of a fizz that we love to drink ourselves, that our friends really appreciate and that is recognised as being something special.”

“There is also a camaraderie amongst local vineyards that is fun to be part of; the Wessex branch of WineGB organises a number of ‘Waffle and Walk’ events where we all descend on one of our member’s vineyards, look around at what/how they are doing it and discuss our growing issues in general. We have yet to return from one of these without saying ‘I wonder if we should try such and such?’” – Cecilia Haszlakiewicz

Goodworth English Sparkling Wine

This lovely new English Winery was started by the hard work and passion of Mark and Cecilia Haszlakiewicz, they have lived in the ancient English settlement of Goodworth Clatford for over twenty years, located on the banks of the river Anton.

Despite their long history in Goodworth, their journey into the Sparkling Wine world starts more recently in 2015.

Once their children had left home and their horses had left their one-acre paddock, Mark and Cecilia started thinking of their next venture in life, they always enjoyed a nice glass of wine and their Hampshire home is surrounded by vineyards, so…

Mark: “Don’t you think that the old paddock would make an excellent vineyard? There’s a good slope and it faces in the right direction with enough topsoil above solid chalk.”

Cecilia: “You’ve been saying it for years and now you’re seventy – why don’t we do it before you really are too old?”

They agreed to give it their best shot, they sorted some advice, tested some soil samples and decided to plant one acre of vines, with the aim to focus on quality rather than quantity.

By 2016 they started seeing positive signs, so they doubled down on producing the best grapes they could, ensuring their vines were well looked after, positioned correctly and healthy.

In 2017 their paddock was really starting to look like a young English Vineyard.

Cecilia: “Will we get any grapes this year?”

Mark: “No – we need to get the roots really well established first.”

Cecilia: “So, what do we do now?”

Mark: “We carry on weeding and spraying and trimming…”

Cecilia: “And then?”

Mark: “We do it all again!”

In 2018 they secured a wine estate to help turn their grapes into wine, they choose the Halfpenny Green Wine Estate, which they were very impressed with.

Just in time for their very first harvest, they called upon friends, family and villagers to take part in helping them pick their 3 different grape varieties which would go on to make their first Vintage English Sparkling Wine.

In the year 2019, they started to get the first indications of what their 2018 vintage would be like in quality, they managed to harvest 5 tonnes of grapes in 2018.

Mark: “It’s time to head up to Halfpenny Green to taste the base wines and decide on the blend.”

Cecilia: “That’s so exciting. But what if we don’t like it?”

Mark: “Well, let’s taste and see.”

Cecilia: “Yum!”

Mark: “Yum!”

They managed to have another successful harvest in 2019, hopefully, we’ll see a new bottle in their range next year.

Despite a great two years, 2020 took a turn for the worst, on the 13th of May they were hit by heavy frost, causing the death of 95% of their grapes, so unfortunately Woodworth will never release a 2020 vintage, but despite this massive disappointment, they continued maintaining the vines, nurturing them and getting ready for the future.

This is the story of Goodworth (so far), from humble beginnings, Mark and Cecilia didn’t want to just sit down and do nothing with the rest of their lives, they joined together and helped further the evolvement of the English Sparkling Wine industry, let’s have a taste of their 2018 vintage and see how all their hard work paid off.

Goodworth – 2018 Brut Classic Blend – Tasting Notes

Aroma – “A phenomenal display of creamy, pastry, shortbread, biscuits, cheesecake base, flakey pastry, clotted cream, and hints of fruits in the background, but to be honest there is so much creamy and pastry goodness that you’ll be forgiven if you don’t pick out the yellow and white fruits in the background.”

Flavour – “A delicate and mellow touch of zesty citrus, gooseberry, yellow and green apple skin and lemon zest, then during the mid palate, the Pastries and biscuit touch comes back into play.”

Gold Medal in the Pastries Delight Category at the Glass of Bubbly Awards 2022.

‘What was the inspiration behind your label design?’

“We started by looking at a mass of existing labels and decided we did not like any of them. We wanted something simple but which said quite clearly who we were, where we were and what was in the bottle.

There was no budget for any paid professional help.

So Mark set to work creating our own, which was indeed basic and looked very homemade, which really was not good enough.

Cecilia has the good fortune to have as a cousin, Erika Lagerbielke, the internationally famous Swedish glass designer with Orrefors/Kosta/Boda and her graphic designer husband, Tomas Åhlman, who jointly offered to help and between us through many, many iterations the current label emerged. We got a simple yet elegant label!

As our small family vineyard is located in the picturesque Test Valley, famous for its crystal clear waters and trout-filled chalk streams and Mark is a keen fisherman, we wished to incorporate this aspect and hence the logo on the reverse of the collar.” – Cecilia Haszlakiewicz

Another wonderful addition to the world of English Sparkling Wine is the chance to experience what it’s like with a wide variety of different dishes and meals, there’s still a bit to be done in that department, so I asked Goodworth a question about Food Pairings.

‘Have you done any studies on your Sparkling Wine with food pairings, if so do have you any suggestions to share with us?’

“Yes. We had initially considered suggesting that our fizz would go well with ‘anything or nothing’, but that is not quite true!

We have been helped along this path by Cecile Bergart of Hampshire Wine School and it is a lengthy and complex subject – though one well worth pursuing if one wants to enhance rather than tarnish the enjoyment of one’s fizz. Suffice it to say that it goes well with quails eggs – but that we no longer serve celery salt with them.

And, of course, our favourite accompaniment is smoked trout on brown bread with a touch of lemon.” – Cecilia Haszlakiewicz

Thank you Cecilia Haszlakiewicz for speaking with me about Goodworth, I hope you all get the chance to discover this small English Winery, thank you for reading and until next time, enjoy the fizz!