Since opening its doors in 2017, Gusbourne's visitor centre has hosted thousands of wine lovers as part of our vineyard tours. Its popularity is partly down to meticulously considered design. It’s a place where generosity and attention to detail have been at the heart of our thinking, even before the first plans began to take shape.
Our ambition wasn't just to build a modern cellar door. We wanted to build a space that would articulate our love for what we do – somewhere we could share our enthusiasm and knowledge with people who had come to experience our wines on the terroir where they're made. We spent months planning how to tell our story through architecture, materials and uniquely Gusbourne design details.
The first thing you notice on entering The Nest is the warm atmosphere. Crafted from oak timber to evoke the ancient forests that surround the estate (with a nod to traditional wine barriques), the scented interior expresses the essence of Gusbourne – authentic, welcoming and with a strong sense of place.
There’s no prescribed ‘start here, finish there’ journey at The Nest. Explore the space at your pace. Learn about our techniques. Linger with a glass of wine. Or go upstairs and stare out across our vineyards down towards Romney Marsh and the sea...
Every detail here says something about our values and our connection to the land. Contemporary design using traditional materials. A natural palette from the Kent sky, the soil, the vines, the fruit, our wines. Space to explore, freedom to linger over little details. Relics of Saxon life and local history, unearthed from our fields, that describe the estate’s timeline over centuries.
But The Nest is far from a museum. Like the bubbles in a glass, there's a sense of fun – who knew you could inflate a tyre from a 1960s Mini to the same pressure as a bottle of Gusbourne Blanc de Blancs? Or that it was English physician Christopher Merrett (1614-1695) who first described the process of secondary fermentation, 35 years before Dom Pérignon (désolé, Dom).
These are just some of the captivating facts we wanted to share once the frame of The Nest was ready to be feathered with stories. We wanted guests to feel instantly welcome. To discover something surprising. Something to remember. And to create a quintessentially Gusbourne experience, especially for visitors new to English wine. So, from an unused leftover corner of our winery, we designed and built a thoroughly modern vineyard experience, where guests can learn about the fascinating history of the area alongside finding out why our wines taste the way they do.
The diamond-shaped timber frames on the walls hold individual facets of our past and present that together form a lattice-like pattern. This metaphorical nest, at once delicate and strong, presents facts and objects that narrate the Gusbourne story. And our wall of bottles – a dramatic structure created from hundreds of crown-capped empty vessels – makes a hero of our bottle-ageing process. That’s where the magic of our approach to winemaking happens.
Upstairs, the curvy oak-vaulted ceiling cocoons you into the convivial tasting room. The full-height window not only gives picture-perfect views across acres of vines to the coast, it also opens up to the balcony – a connection to the terroir while you sample what it’s produced. See the land, smell the salt of the sea air – all reflected in the saline minerality of the wine in your glass.
Everyone who works at Gusbourne is an ambassador, full of knowledge about the estate and everything we make here. The Nest is a place for them to share their genuine passion for everything we do and make here. And it’s our pleasure to share the natural sparkling bounty of this wonderful corner of Kent. Our home. Our Nest.
And why do we call it The Nest, you may ask? It all stems from the ancient lineage of Gusbourne Estate and the geese that feature on the original family crest of the de Goosebourne family, and now on our logo too. Just as a goose calls its nest home, so do we.
All our hosted vineyard and winery tours begin and end at The Nest, and all include a tutored tasting. Read about our range of tours and how to book here. You can also drop in for a free tasting of our current sparkling vintages and have a self-guided tour at your own pace – no booking required (but do check our opening times).
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As the days grow shorter and another growing season reaches its crescendo, we’re inviting guests to join us for a special extended tour during this year’s harvest – another glorious Gusbourne vintage.
Vineyard Update, July 2022
As sunny summer days slowly slope towards harvest time, Chief Vineyard Manager Jon Pollard looks at the growing season so far – another fine vintage year for Gusbourne.
Like everything else in nature, the art of winemaking is constantly changing. At Gusbourne, alongside our celebrated range of award-winning sparkling wines, we embrace the opportunity to explore new avenues now and then. Here’s what happened when we planted the Burgundian Chardonnay 809 clone, a grape with a fascinating flavour profile.