Meet the Producers
The Howard Family
Giffords Hall Vineyard, Suffolk
Linda Howard is owner of Giffords Hall Vineyard based near Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk, producing still and sparkling wines The vineyard has a shop on site and online, runs private vineyard tours and group bookings throughout the year as well as offering accommodation and private event hire.
Linda and her husband Guy bought Giffords Hall as an already established vineyard 12 years ago. Their ultimate aim was to produce very high-quality boutique wines themselves and in 2009, they put their first label onto a bottle. Very sadly Guy died in December 2019. Linda continues to run this thriving operation, with the hard work and input from daughter Ellie and son Harry.
Linda expands a bit more on this family-run business:
“We last worked together full time during lock down and even if Ellie is aboard (she travels with her journalism) she has a handle on the website, and all the digital marketing.
Formerly with Enotria, Harry is now working for WSET as his ‘full time job’ but is here on a lot of weekends and on call for harvest and for important times of the year. The children worked here all through their formative years and through college, often with their friends.
H says we have shaped his career because he was motivated to go into the drinks industry from an early age. He says running the vineyard covers so many aspects. The sheer variety of tasks cover growing producing and selling, all of which have contributed to his outside roles in brewing and at WSET. He has an excellent, trained palate.
Ellie has always leaned towards journalism and she writes for BBC travel, Elephant, Spaces, Magnum and latterly, the Guardian. Her articles cover, among other more arty topics, the role of young people and women in agriculture. She has built the current Giffords Hall website from scratch and she and her partner are digital media specialists and handle our google profiles and the dark art of google advertising as well as running regular campaigns and raising our profile. A lot of our photography is her work. Again, the vineyard has been where she practiced her skills from her early teens.
The children lost their father while in their mid twenties, followed by the first lock down. They both dropped everything to step in to cover all the winemaking, administration, sales and vineyard work from pruning onwards. As a single parent now, I can say the children have brought a huge amount of know-how in sales ops, tech and marketing to bear on the business from their experience in their own workplaces. Our shared history of building the business as they were growing up makes us close as a team and we are lucky we all adopt different roles within the structure of the company. Both Ellie and H have insisted that sustainability becomes an important goal here at Giffords Hall. They are both very ‘planet aware’ and they initiated our application for SWGB. Harry is an active shepherd and we do the shearing and tagging together.
Working with family entails a degree of intimacy not present with other employees. They are my most outspoken critics and my most unquestionably loyal support at the same time. I am hugely proud of both of them and Guy would have been too.”