Danbury Ridge Wine Estate

Danbury Ridge was founded by two generations of the Bunker family: Michael and Heather Bunker and their daughters Janine and Sophie.

For Michael and Heather, there really was no place like home, and having spent several years living in Asia they returned to Essex, settling in the village of Danbury, just a few miles north from where they had grown up.

While walking with friends on the estate it was suggested that some of the agricultural land owned by the Bunker family may prove an ideal location for growing vines. The fields had long been scorned by local farmers for being lean and arid – a good training ground for racehorses over wet winters, but far from ideal for summer cereal crops. Following their passion for growing and talent for identifying opportunities, the family commissioned a detailed feasibility study.

The first vines were planted in 2014 with an unwavering focus on still Pinot Noir and Chardonnay clones to exploit the unique mesoclimate. After just a few seasons the vines were producing grapes of a ripeness previously unseen in the UK.

Inspired by the possibility of what could be achieved with expert advice, capital investment and patience, the family decided to grow their ambition further and commenced construction of one of the most well-equipped wineries in Europe.

While most UK estates look to Reims and Epernay for inspiration, scaling their activities and ambitions to compete with the vast brands of the Marne, the focus at Danbury Ridge is directed toward grower Champagnes and the small domaines of Burgundy.

Now, just a few vintages into the project, and that early aspiration is being realised: Danbury Ridge is bottling wines that critics have already favourably compared to some of the finest addresses in Burgundy, Oregon and cool climate, New Zealand.

2021 vintage report

2021 was a tale of two halves. We needed record highs in September and October and we got them, with a very dry November to follow. Indeed our GDDs at picking were higher than 2018 and 2020. Sugar levels, however were lower than usual because of a cold summer, but phenolically and flavour profiles are extremely good. Low yields and extremely vigilant vineyard management were essential.

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