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Busi Jacobsohn wines are as international as they are local.

Husband and wife team, Susanna and Douglas combine their passion for great food and wine with a unique European flair. With roots based in Italy and Sweden, they initially leant towards having a vineyard in Italy, however realised that it was in fact the English countryside that could offer exciting opportunities for wines, specifically sparkling wines made in the traditional method (similar to champagne).

From driving the tractors to blending the wines, this dynamic duo’s focus is on how the terroir (or the environment that their vines grow in) can be reflected in their sparkling wines. How can they best exemplify the terroir of East Sussex in their wines. Their vision is singularly single estate production, where the wines are made only with grapes nurtured and harvested from their own unique vineyard site.

We spoke to Susanna and Douglas about their journey to become one of the leading wine producers in the UK.

 

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A family-run business since 2015, Susanna and Douglas’ two sons are also part of the team tending to the vineyard found in the heart of the High Weald and close to Tunbridge Wells. Here, rolling hills and woods create a haven for their five hectares of vines, warmed by a south-west facing aspect. Come harvest time, the vines are bursting with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes, perfect for their celebrated sparkling wines, ranging from cuvée blends to sparkling rosé, blanc de blancs and blanc de noirs.

Regularly winning awards across their collection, the Busi Jacobsohn Blanc de Blanc 2018 was awarded Gold at the Spring Tasting of Drinks Business, celebrating the Chardonnay sparkling for its “layers of lively persistent zesty lemon and fresh apple characters, complemented by subtle notes of hazelnut and baked bread from the five years spent on its lees (in bottle)’” Patrick Schmitt MW and Editor.

Being in what is still considered a relatively new wine region – England – Susanna and Douglas are wine producers who listen and learn, and considering their wines are now amongst the best in the country, are mindful that they are creating a benchmark premium style of wine that others can only hope to achieve. This responsibility also comes with a mission to create a sustainable product that supports the local wine industry for the long term. Their vineyard is promoted as its own unique ecosystem, supporting a range of wildlife and healthy soils, meaning less use of pesticides and herbicides, in fact Busi Jacobsohn is one of the country’s pioneers in weed management with the goal to become completely herbicide free, not easy in our verdant (and usually wet) landscape.

What do you love about running your business?

It’s about producing something from start to finish. It’s about making decisions on what to do in the vineyard in order to make the best grapes that go on to make the wines. We take pride in deciding on the blend and dosage (adding sugar after disgorging the sparking wine) and when to disgorge each wine, as well as the style of wines we make each year.

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Can you share your approach to sustainability?

We do not use herbicide but have mechanical weeding. We carefully manage the hedgerows and woodlands around the vineyard, and focus on regenerative vineyard management. We also have solar panels and a biomass heating.

 

What’s next for Busi Jacobsohn Wine Estate?

This year we will have two new vintages and our first ever Magnum bottle will be available around June (2024). New this year is our Cuvee’ Brut 2020, Magnum Cuvee’ Brut 2020 and Blanc de Blanc 2019.

We also run two open tastings and vineyard walks each year, which are ticketed and can be booked online. If readers sign up to our newsletter they will be amongst the first to know when they come up. And on top of this, our cellar door is open for bespoke tastings for small groups throughout the year, which can be booked directly with us.

Busi Jacobsohn Wine Estate