Geoff Buckingham has a lot to be proud of. His small 1.1 hectare Griffin Farm vineyard produced one of the breakout English wines of 2017, propelling the lesser-talked about variety, Solaris, to international trophy-winning status. The vineyard is part of a large arable crop farming business run by Geoff's family, located in Bedfordshire in the village of Toddington.
Geoff planted the first 0.9 hectares of vines in Toddington in 2012, with the focus being on Bacchus and Solaris. The vineyard is, in Geoff’s own words, nearly south facing. Working as an IT consultant in London during the week, Geoff runs Double Hedges at weekends and in the evenings. It’s a true labour of love, borne out of a growing interest in wine and a visit several years ago to the Alsace. Whilst not sitting on the famed chalk-rich soils of the south of England, the valley that the vineyard sits in contains rich glacial sand and gravel soils, and the end of the chalk seam is visible from the peak of the vineyard.
Double Hedges’ first commercial wine releases were in 2014. These were two still whites in the form of Double Hedges Bacchus 2014 and Solaris 2014. With Geoff focussing on the growing, winemaking duties are handled by two separate contract winemakers. Litmus Wines, based out of Denbies Wine Estate in Surrey, produce the Bacchus, and the Solaris is produced by Clive Vickers of Halfpenny Green in Staffordshire.