Tommy Grimshaw - Sharpham


Age: 21
Vineyard: Sharpham
Position: Assistant Winemaker


What inspired you to become a winemaker?


Having left 6th form I was looking for something that would give me a chance to learn something completely new. English Wine production does just that and it is an industry that is growing day by day, it’s exciting to be involved with it. It’s also great to see people enjoying a bottle of wine that I have been heavily involved with producing. 

Please describe your winemaking journey so far…


I picked up a summer job at Sharpham, when I was 17, labeling and bottling wine to earn some cash. I completely flunked my first year of A levels and began to look for other options than resitting the year. Winemaking looked fun and completely different to the education system that I was used to so I asked Duncan if I could stay on and help with the harvest. After that, I was hooked and have been a sponge soaking up as much knowledge from Duncan and any other winemaker I meet.


Describe your personal highlight of your career so far.


There have been so many highlights so far but one that possibly stands out is collecting the trophy for ‘Best Red’ in the UKVA annual competition. It was great to collect the award with recognition from the rest of the industry. 


Can you think of a valuable piece of information/advice you wish you had been given prior to training?


Winemaking is 90% cleaning.


Which of your current wines are you most excited about?


We are currently running a wild fermentation on a skin contact Pinot Gris which could be pretty fun. We’ve got a few magnums of Sparkling which could be ready for release shortly too. 


What were the last two truly memorable English wines (that weren’t your own) that you tasted?


Langham Rose 2014 was a fantastic example of a pink Sparkling. Wickham Vineyards 2003 Vintage Selection Red was pretty mad. I am amazed that it was still holding together and I would never have guessed it was English.


Decanter recently published an article which highlighted a shortage of young recruits into the English Wine industry - what would you say in order to convince young people in the UK into considering a career in winemaking?


It’s an exciting industry that is breaking down the snobbery barriers all the time. No two days are the same and no two wines are the same, so it’s pretty hard to get bored or stop learning something completely new. Most of all, there’s a load of wine to taste and that can’t be a bad thing!