Wiston Estate would like to announce that in September 2022 Dermot Sugrue will be stepping down from the position as Head Winemaker at the estate, following a wonderful 16 years of working together. Dermot has decided that the time has come to dedicate more time and energy to his own project ‘Sugrue South Downs’ which he is running with his partner and fiancé Ana Ðogic. It is undoubtedly the end of an era, one which has seen a huge revolution in winemaking in England, but for both Wiston and Dermot this is a positive and mutually supported change which will bring both a world of opportunities.

Wiston Estate is delighted to confirm that Marcus Rayner will be taking over as Head Winemaker from September 2022. Marcus has been working with Dermot since 2018 as Assistant Winemaker and in those years has learnt a huge amount and witnessed all the challenges making wine in England can present. He is recently returned from a stage in Champagne, working with Dermot’s former mentor Jean Manuel Jacquinot, and is excited about embracing the challenge and taking up the mantel which Dermot leaves him.

Marcus Rayner

Richard Goring, Wiston Estate CEO: “Dermot joined us at Wiston because he was so excited by the potential of the vines my parents had planted on the farm in 2006. It has been a remarkable journey together over these past 15 years. From the moment we first loaded the Coquard press he has pioneered a style of wine making that has not only enabled the Wiston wines to reach their potential but been a tour de force in putting English wines at the top of the international sparkling category.

We are now so excited for Dermot and Ana as they embark on a new adventure together and are looking forward to watching the Sugrue wines develop in the years ahead.

From day one Dermot has been an inspiration and we are so grateful for all that he has achieved in creating an incredible wine making team here at Wiston, who share his passion and brilliance. We are delighted that Marcus, who has worked alongside Dermot since 2018, has stepped up to build on the fantastic foundations that have been laid at Wiston. He is part of a new generation of wine makers in this country who are taking on the legacy of crafting the world class wines that this land can produce. ”

Dermot Sugrue: “Without question these last 16 years at Wiston Estate have been the most thrilling, prolific, dramatic, and successful of my winemaking career – and life – to date. The journey that I started with Harry & Pip Goring back in 2006 has been an extraordinary one, starting with just sticks in a field and an old turkey barn… to what it is today: three times winner of UK Winery of the Year, the fabulous Chalk Restaurant opened last year, and now a world class visitor experience and tasting room. We certainly had a vision of this all those years ago, however never quite expected it to reach such heights. The foundations upon which this has been built are simple: an absolute obsession with making the best wines possible at all times, and critically the consistently unwavering support from the Goring family throughout this period. Rick and Kirsty have been absolutely fundamental in making this happen – their energy, enthusiasm and ambition have led us to where we are today: at the very top of the UK wine industry.

Throughout my time at Wiston, my fantastic winemaking team have also achieved remarkable success making wines for our contract winemaking clients, one of which has been my own project, Sugrue South Downs (aka The Trouble With Dreams). I now need to focus more of my time and energy on this, together with Ana, in what will be a hugely exciting new chapter for us.
Marcus and I have worked together brilliantly since 2018 and I have no doubt he has everything he needs to steer the Wiston ship going forward. I have every faith that he will take on this challenge and thrive. Being part of the Wiston family is special, and enduring, and we look forward to sharing our future journeys together.”

Dermot will continue to be working at Wiston Estate until September 2022, when he will officially hand over the reins to Marcus. They are working on a smooth transition which has already begun.

Dermot Sugrue & Richard Goring at the Wine GB Tasting September 2021.