Tony Skuriat & Helenka Brown
Eglantine Vineyard & Hanwell Wine Estate, Nottinghamshire
Tony began his journey into wine in the early 1970s when he moved into a house with a single vine in a dilapidated greenhouse. His passion was sparked, so he read every book in the library and signed up for grape and wine publications from Australia, Canada and California. His vineyard, Eglantine in Nottinghamshire turned 40 in 2019.
Helenka grew up on her parents vineyard, Eglantine in Nottinghamshire. As a child she loved being outside in the vineyard, at harvest she had a height advantage – being small and nearer the fruiting zone! At 14 she jumped behind the wheel and took on the tractor driving, bouncing along with the battery operated radio balanced on the dashboard, blaring Radio One. Helenka and husband Will started their own family and wanted an outdoor childhood for their own brood, hence Hanwell Wine Estate was born. Did you know Hanwell is a mash up of their children’s names Hannah & William, 3 letters each, keeping it fair ?
Father, Tony Skuriat, Eglantine Vineyard, Nottinghamshire said
“I learnt nothing about grape growing from my Polish parent, perhaps a little about vodka! My parents always had livestock, so I learnt animal husbandry, my Dad taught me to correctly use a scythe which was essential when we originally prepared our site for planting in the 1970s. They also taught me bee keeping, I collected my first swarm when I was 8 whilst my Dad was at work. Of course I’ve since combined that with my wine making passion to make a light honey mead. I hope my daughter’s learnt a little bit about grape growing and wine making. I’ve passed on what I can, planned her vineyard and selected the best varieties for the site. Pure determination and grit are definitely family traits that I’ve passed on.”
Daughter, Helenka Brown, Hanwell Wine Estate, Nottinghamshire said
“My Dad is a true inspiration, his passion for vines, grapes and wine making is contagious. He’s taught me so much and yet I have only scratched the surface. In the 1970s when he planted in Nottinghamshire everyone thought he was deluded, ripening grapes in Nottinghamshire was folly! He’s repeatedly pushed the boundaries of viticulture, from making an international award winning dessert wine with single vineyard grapes grown in the East Midlands to more recently guiding me to plant the champagne varieties and proving they can be dependably ripe every year.
My Dad proves that if you are lucky enough to identify your passion, you too can be jumping out of bed each and every morning with excitement as to what the day will bring! Together we tasted our “coming soon” wines recently, we’re both really excited, the future is bright!”