Our Story So Far
Our story began a long long time ago, in 1158 Kidmore House stood on land owned by Walter Giffard, Earl of Buckingham. He bestowed the land to Augustinian friars and Kidmore House and other land in Caversham continued with the friars until the dissolution of the Abbey in 1536 thanks to Henry VIII selling the estate to his cofferer. The current house dates from about 1680 and is listed by English Heritage Grade II* as a dwelling of ‘architectural and/or historic interest’.
Fast forwarding a few hundred years and the house passed from the Ogilvie family to Major Huguenot Waterhouse and Lady Caroline Waterhouse, the daughter of John Spencer Churchill, 10th Duke of Marlborough. Sir Winston and Lady Churchill were apparently regular guests, the last time in 1957.
The Kendall family moved to Kidmore House in August 2002 and we have been blessed with four children, Cathryn, Hugo, Marcus and Luc. Niamh is a horticulturalist and has been involved with horticulture her whole life. She has been growing and selling flowers from the cutting garden and so planting a vineyard on the estate was a logical next step.
We planted our first vines on one hectare in May 2018 and our very exciting news is that Henry Laithwaite of Harrow and Hope winery has offered to make our sparkling wine for us. We couldn’t be happier especially having tasted his delicious wines.
As we fast forward four years our organic program continues to move along nicely. On the way we encountered one of the latest frosts in May 2020 that the south of England has ever encountered. This sadly affected the growth for that year and the following year although in our third year we decided to focus on the vines and not the fruit. 2022 was an entirely different story with a beautiful sunny and warm season which was probably the best season for English sparkling on record. Small grapes, due to the drought but wonderful sugars and sweetness. We harvested the reds in early September and the white in mid September.
The wine is now in tanks and barrels and we will be looking to bottle in spring 2023…..then it’s just a few years to get it perfect.