A spotlight on our Head Winemaker, Josh Donaghay-Spire

A spotlight on our Head Winemaker, Josh Donaghay-Spire

by Chapel Down 28 February 2022

This week, a focus on our Head Winemaker & Operations Director, Josh Donaghay-Spire and his career to date. Josh shares with us an update on the latest news from the winery and vineyards and recommends his top three wines from our range.

After completing a BSC in Viticulture and Oenology at Plumpton College, Josh worked at wineries across France and England before then joining Chapel Down as Assistant Winemaker in 2010. Josh’s talents were recognised early on and within three years Josh was promoted to Head Winemaker. During this time, Josh has been at the heart of our winemaking achievements, as well as being instrumental in helping us to become England’s leading wine producer.

This month, Josh was promoted to Operations Director and Head Winemaker. In his new role as Operations Director, Josh will oversee our vineyards and production as well as winemaking. As one of the most talented winemakers within the English wine industry, we are incredibly proud to have Josh joining our Executive Leadership Team!

Early 2022 Update

“The focus at the beginning of the year is blending our still and carbonated wines. So far, we have blended our Flint Dry and English Rose from the 2021 harvest, and they are ready to be bottled any day now. The flavours are lighter and fresher in style than the 2020 harvest, perfect for the upcoming Spring and Summer.

The team continues to make great progress within the vineyard and the recent dry couple of months has allowed the efficient process of mulching, pruning and completion of cane selection.

January was particularly dry, with the south-East of England receiving less than a third of the average rainfall. This was great for vineyard work and has allowed us to make good progress with pruning. Thankfully, the recent storms have not adversely affected the health of the vines. At this stage in the year the vines are in dormancy and do not have any leaves, therefore the strong winds have fortunately not created any damage.

Soil temperature and air temperature will determine when the vines awaken. Then bud burst will follow around late March, early April time. The risk of frost will be very closely monitored throughout the month of March, onwards.”

Josh's Top Picks

Brut NV

“Brut NV is a firm favourite all year round.  With complex aromas of red apple, lemongrass and freshly baked bread together with hints of strawberry and quince on the palate and fine persistent bubbles, it is reliably consistent and offers exceptional value for money.”  

Buy Now

Three Graces 2016

“The Three Graces 2016 is a vintage that I’m particularly proud of.  The wine carries richness and complexity with an abundance of fruit aromas carefully balanced by a rich palate and generous finish.” 

Buy Now

Kit's Coty Chardonnay 2018

“This is my favourite of our still wines and a real crowd pleaser!  This full-bodied Chardonnay is incredibly versatile and pairs particularly well with food, especially white meats and grilled seafood.  It is a great example of quality English still wine.” 

Buy Now