Meet the Producers
Sam & Charlotte Linter
Bolney Wine Estate, Sussex
Samantha Linter – Former MD & Head Winemaker at Bolney Wine Estate
Charlotte Linter – Tourism Manager at Bolney Wine Estate
Three generations of the family are now involved in the business, which was founded as Bookers Vineyard back in 1972 by Rodney and Janet Pratt, parents of Sam Linter. Sam has been working in the business for over 25 years and was later joined by daughter Charlotte.
Sam stepped down from her position at Bolney in April 2023, 16 months after selling the business to Freixenet Copestick.
On bidding farewell to Bolney, Sam said: “I feel I have successfully guided Bolney Wine Estate in becoming part of Freixenet Copestick and the Henkell Freixenet Group, I am excited by their plans for the future of the business, which closely follow the aspirations I had. However, it is time for me to move on and start my next challenge, knowing I have left Bolney Wine Estate and my family’s legacy in safe hands.”
What’s it like working together?
CHARLOTTE: Most of the time it is lovely working together, we are a really close family and Mum has been a real inspiration for my own career and a great role model with how hard she has worked to make the business a success. Though we do differ in our approach – both me and Dad like to talk business outside of the office and Mum can find that stressful when she needs a few minutes of peace.
SAM: Although working with family has its challenges, the support you get is worth its weight in gold. One thing we have noticed at Bolney is due to the strong family support in the company, other team members have bought into this culture. So it feels like one big family.
How do you work together?
CHARLOTTE: We try to keep things professional and family politics do not come into the office with us as a rule. As always, it is me and Dad that are most guilty with slip ups!
SAM: My one policy is to leave anything personal at the door!
What are your roles – what does each bring to the business?
CHARLOTTE: I work as Tours Manager which I love, as I get to talk directly to our customers and build relationships with them. It’s great inviting people to the vineyard to learn about our craft and gain new fans of Bolney. My Dad manages our IT systems and Mum has the hardest job as Managing Director, overseeing every part of the business, knowing it inside out and being responsible for its growth and success.
What are you passing on to your children – was there anything you learnt from your father/parents that you follow?
SAM: My Father has never coddled me, he taught me to have a thick skin and fight hard for what I want in life. Although it was a family business I had to work hard for any respect or responsibility I was given, and I have managed Charlotte in the same way. It’s important to me that the rest of the team feel that everyone is treated equally. My Mum also taught me to have a great love and respect for the land and the wildlife around us and that was my inspiration for our company ethos ‘guided by nature’.
CHARLOTTE: I’ve learnt that nothing comes easy in life and that in a business like ours you really must love it and fully commit yourself – it has to be something that you want to do. I’ve also learnt to stay optimistic to get through the challenging times and that you can take nothing for granted! I’ve been really inspired by the resilience my parents have both shown over the years, I know they have had to sacrifice a lot, but they have never given up.