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Simpsons’ Wine Estate


Repurposing used cardboard for packaging and compost

Ruth and Charles Simpson have made award-winning wines at their stunning, southern French Domaine, since 2002. In 2012 they brought their savoir-faire back to the UK, establishing Simpsons’ Wine Estate in Kent. The Simpsons now have 38 hectares of vineyards established on the iconic chalk terroir of the North Downs, a state-of-the-art winery and an elegant tasting room complete with the world’s first helter-skelter slide! With a strong focus on provenance, Simpsons’ now produces a highly acclaimed range of exclusively estate grown still and sparkling wines, which can be found in some of the finest retail and dining outlets nationally and internationally.

The team at Simpsons’ Wine Estate is fully committed to conserving the local environment and promoting biodiversity, thus in 2022, the Estate became fully accredited with the Sustainable Wine Scheme of Great Britain. It is also a signatory to the Walpole Sustainability Manifesto, (representative organization for British luxury) and its four key sustainability principles. One of those principles is to promote the transition towards a circular economy and to this end, the Estate has several circularity projects ongoing, including the composting of grape marc to reuse as fertilizer on the vineyard and the reuse of wine lees by a local Aromatherapist to create hand soap.

Simpsons’ Pledges

As a continuation of our circularity principle, Simpsons’ now pledges to reduce cardboard packaging waste by breaking it down into a reusable material. Many of the ‘dry’ goods (such as corks or labels), required to seal and dress our wine is delivered in large cardboard boxes. In addition, all our direct consumer sales are repackaged in postage-safe boxes, thus wasting their original cardboard containers. This significant cardboard waste is currently recycled externally by the waste company Biffa, but Simpsons now pledges to recycle internally implementing two separate methods and reuse in two different parts of the business.

The first method is the straightforward investment of a large-scale shredder to break thicker cardboard into smaller, shredded material to reuse in our postage-safe wine boxes and in our gifting hampers. We would not require large amounts of this shredded card, so our second method is to invest in a ‘Worm Farm’ or ‘Wormery’ to compost pre-soaked cardboard and reconstitute it as a foliar tonic or fertilizer in the vineyards. Composting worms differ from normal garden worms, living near the surface of the ground and eating decaying vegetation. The ‘Wormery’ takes advantage of this lifestyle, with perforated composting trays that the worms work up through, consuming the soaked cardboard waste, (topped up with office kitchen food waste), leaving behind the highly desirable and fully organic vermicompost.

By committing to this additional circularity project, Simpsons Wine Estate pledges to recycle as much cardboard waste as possible internally and reuse it in two different parts of the business. Use of the Wormery compost will further reduce artificial inputs in the vineyard as well as commercial spend on imported fertilizer. Our aim is to situate the ‘Wormery’ within the winery complex, therefore as well as the soaked cardboard, staff will also be able to contribute food waste (including coffee, tea bags & cut flowers), thus engaging the entire team in the composting process. The use of the large-scale shredder will eliminate the need to purchase any further shredded material for repacking.

Simpsons’ Wine Estate

The Barns, Church Lane, Barham, Canterbury CT4 6PB