Dry Extract Interview: Tommy Grimshaw of Langham Wine Estate, Dorset, England

Tommy Grimshaw of Langham Wine Estate, England. 

© Photo provided


Tommy Grimshaw of Langham Wine Estate, England. 

© Photo provided

At 25, Tommy Grimshaw is thought to be the youngest head winemaker in the UK. He fell in love with English wine whilst on a summer job and left school to work at Sharpham Vineyard in Devon, England where he spent six years. He joined Langham Wine Estate in 2019 and quickly became the head winemaker, drawing on inspiration from Champagne to make world-class sparkling wines with minimal intervention.

The best advice I ever got

This has to be the advice that my parents gave me to leave school after I failed my first year of A-levels and to start working full time. I wasn’t that suited to the academic system but I have a passion for learning. Once I left school, I was able to learn and gain experience how I wanted to. It’s what started my career in wine.

My life motto

‘Have fun!’ It’s that simple. If you’re having fun, everything else around you becomes much easier and enjoyable.

I am currently reading

Champagne by Peter Liem.

My most played music track

I am almost always listening to music of all kinds but the two songs that have stuck with me since I was a kid are Rebel Rebel by David Bowie and You Really Got Me by The Kinks.

If I didn’t do my current job I would be

A pilot or a chef. I love flying but cooking is a real passion of mine.

Skill I don’t currently possess but would like to have

Scuba diving. I have a real love for the ocean but I’ve not explored much below the surface.

My favourite kind of exercise

Surfing, cycling or hiking. Anything that gets me outside and amongst wild landscapes.

I relax while

Cooking. It is a real passion for me and I can get completely lost in it. I get home from work, put some tunes on and just chill out whilst creating something tasty.

I collect

Wine and records. There’s a nice overlap between the rituals of opening a bottle of wine and putting a record on.

My essential newspaper/magazine

Food Magazine from the southwest of England.

My desert-island wine

Experience by Pascal Agrapart. This is a traditional method Blanc de Blancs that is 100% grapes, so there has been nothing added at all which means that the second fermentation in bottle is all wild ferment too. This wine is so pure and fresh with extreme depth of flavour. Every time you go back to it there is something else to find in the glass. For a wine that is made in such a hands off way, it is exceptionally focused and detailed.

I have learnt a lot from

Duncan Schwab (head winemaker at Sharpham in South Devon). There are many people in my life that have supported me and taught me a lot but Duncan opened the door to the wine industry for me after I dropped out of school and during the six years that I worked for him, he not only taught me to make wine but he really inspired me.

My last meal and sip will be

If it was now, I’d opt for a nice seafood platter from one of the many beach hut cafés in Devon or Cornwall with a grower Champagne. I would probably choose Experience by Agrapart again but to mix things up, I’ll say Roses de Jeanne, La Haute Lemblé by Cédric Bouchard. However, I’d like to live long enough that my last meal and sip will probably be something puréed and a tepid cup of tea.