Jacob Leadley, Winemaker, Black Chalk Wines

I recently spent a day of viticulture and winemaking enlightenment in Hampshire. Approaching this project as a layman is fascinating and learn more with every day spent with the people growing the English wine business into a globally recognised enterprise.
Black Chalk Wine is receiving acclaim in UK national media including Telegraph Food & Drink.

Jacob Leadley hails the North East seaside town of Saltburn-by-sea, not known for its wine.  He’s always dreamed of becoming a wine maker. Before joining Hattingley Valley Wines in 2011 Jacob worked in investment banking with Bank of America, Morgan Stanley and Barclays.

Jacob Leadley
Winemaker, Hattingley Valley Wines
FdSc Wine Production Foundation Degree
BSc Wine Production

Jacob Leadley


Looking for a fresh challenge Jacob enrolled on the Plumpton College Wine Division FdSc Wine Production Foundation Degree which he studied for the next two years. He then studied part-time for the BSc course whilst working at Hattingley Valley Wines.

His old career was something he fell into and never felt passionate about. He didn’t understand that it was possible to be so passionate and committed to a job. This is a common thread seen as I meet and talk the people featured in this blog - passion, enthusiasm & commitment. To Jacob wine making does not feel like work, he gets to create and be part of a collaborative creative team who have one of the best jobs in the world according to Jacob!

When he started at Plumpton Jacob knew nothing about wine production or viticulture. He was taught the basics during the 1
st year before the course become much more academic and challenging! Plumpton gave Jacob confidence to challenge and keep asking questions.

On his first day in the vineyard, a warm September day in 2009 Jacob realised that he had left behind a office job in London and that was the future. All very romantic but also very untrue, the future would be colder and wetter with huge amounts of hard work.

Hattingley Valley produce their own wines and also contract produce about 25-35 additional wines each year for other growers including Jacob’s Black Chalk wines since 2015.

One of the greatest benefits of working at Hattingley Valley Wines has been exposure to grapes from all over UK and being tasked with making many different wines. Producing over 120 wines in 7 years has given Jacob a depth of knowledge and experience he thought would take decades to gather.

One example of something different is Bacchus Blues, made by Jacob’s good friend Will Perkins at Hattingley.  As Jacob says “It reminds me of the reason I love this job, the risks you must take to create something new and it is a bloody good wine!”.

Thanks for sparing the time to meet with me Jacob, you are an inspiring force!

Original photography & blog by Ian Pack

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Black Chalk Wine

Photography lighting equipment in association with Pixapro Lighting


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