Episode 21 – Henry Laithwaite Part 1 (Harrow & Hope)

Stories from the Cellar cover art
Stories From the Cellar
Episode 21 - Henry Laithwaite Part 1 (Harrow & Hope)

Harrow and Hope is a very special producer in our book because they represent the next gen of sparkling wine in England. New York Times wine critic Eric Asmiov calls their wines, “as different from the big English names as Champagne’s grower-producers are from the big houses.”

In other words, these are small-batch, organically farmed, mostly native-ferment wines from their 16 acre vineyard in the county of Buckinghamshire, which is not really known for being wine country. Most vineyards in England are located further south, in places like Sussex and Kent. But Henry and his wife, Kaye, found the perfect plot of land on an ancient Thems gravel terrace, where water flowed about 450,000 years ago. For thousands of years the Thames cut down into the gravels and chalk and left a terrace with steep slopes with large deposits of flint gravel, mixed into thick orange clay lying on top of the chalk.

This terroir, as we know, is perfect for sparkling wine production. But how did Henry and Kaye get there? How did they get to be known as the small grower producer in the rising English sparkling wine industry? That, of course, is what you’re about to hear. In this episode, we talk about growing up in a prominent wine merchant family and how he went from making pineapple wine to the real stuff in McLaren Vale, Bordeaux, and finally, England. We discuss living in French culture (read: “c’est pas possible), and what it’s like to come after the likes of Nyetimber and Ridgeview.

Wine, in some form or another, would always be a part of Henry’s future. His very first memories are not running around in Reading, where he was born, but wandering through vineyards in Bordeaux.

Hosted by Charlotte Alsaadi.

Special thanks to SNACKTIME for the music!

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