“God could have just provided water, but He also gave us wine. Christ could have just let the wine run out at the wedding in Cana; instead He provided an abundance of choice wine. Wine calls us to a life of gratitude. Savouring wine can become a Prayer”
The Spirituality of Wine by Gisela Kreglinger,
(Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2016)
I attribute the origin of the story of our sparkling wine – our ‘Bubbles’ – to my French Huguenot ancestors. Fleeing France on the “Voorschoten” sailing ship, only 160 feet long, my Fouche ancestors (meaning Harvesters) arrived in 1688 in the Cape in South Africa. They were allotted land, and built a church to honour and thank God for their safe arrival. With the farmland allotted to them, they planted vineyards at Franschoek (French Corner) in the mountainous valleys around Cape Town. Wine is in my DNA. I feel passionate about vineyards and the production that comes from them.
I was born and grew up in Cape Town where I met my husband Harry in 1968 on a farm belonging to friends of mine. We were married in 1972, and I arrived here in England, my new country in the county of West Sussex. I was homesick and longed to have the familiar landscape of vineyards to gaze upon.
From childhood, I have always had a strong faith. Jesus has constantly played a major part in my life. On arriving here, it felt to me as though the land was spiritually parched. I soon began to ‘prayer walk’, like Joshua in the Bible, and began to claim our land for the Lord. I began an early morning prayer group which met every week, and we prayed wherever the Lord led us. Through these prayer walks, I became more familiar with the land, and I sensed that the idea of planting a vineyard was in God’s heart, and that He wanted to build community, and use our sparkling wine to bring people together around a feasting table – to celebrate our oneness with Jesus, and to share life together.
In 2006, my dream was finally realised, and we planted our vineyard with the traditional varieties of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, and it spreads across 16 acres. Our land on the Wiston Estate is made up of chalk and flint, and is in a direct line and is similar to the soils of the Champagne region and Epernay in France. It was perfect for us to plant a vineyard. Printed on the labels of our bottles are the words “Dante Deo”, meaning ‘Made by God’. I truly believe this is God’s vineyard, these are God’s grapes, this is His wine, made by Him, and we sense His hand upon the whole venture.
Even the redundant turkey factory at North Farm has been transformed into a Winery, bringing life from death, and we now make eight other wines for clients from across the south of England. Our wine is exported all around the world to the USA, Australia, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Ireland and Hong Kong. It is sold in London to Harvey Nicholls, Selfridges, The Chilton Firehouse and other smaller outlets. I am hoping that it will soon reach South Africa, the country of my birth, and my dream is that through the sales of our sparkling wine in Africa, a percentage will literally fund and finance wells in Africa. It would be a sort of ‘prophetic’ statement: that God would send His ‘Elixir Vitae’- His ‘drink of life’ – around the world, to bring life!
Our vineyard was planted in honour of my brave pioneering Huguenot ancestors, who, I believe, have inspired me to plant a vineyard and recreate their joy and pleasure in producing delicious sparkling wine. And it is in honour of God, who has so generously given us this land to steward for Him and for His purposes, for His people to share at His Feasting Table!
Pip Goring is married to Harry and they live on the Wiston Estate. They have six children and nine grandchildren. Pip loves to gather family and friends around a table together to feast! Wiston Estate wine is available to buy locally.