It’s always nice to put a name to face. In our newest blog series, ‘Meet the Murphy’, we will be taking a look behind the scenes and chatting to the industry leading experts at Murphy’s who make everything tick.

First up is award winning wine maker and our go-to wine consultant, Kieron Atkinson, a stalwart champion of English winemaking.

We will be following Kieron through the vineyards of Renishaw Hall this year in and chatting through how the oenological products in our range work in further detail so please keep your eyes peeled for these in the upcoming months.

Without further ado, take it away Kieron Atkinson…

KA: In a former career as an Army Officer serving in Afghanistan, I made a promise to myself that when I returned I would go onto do whatever work I wanted, without too much consideration of the financial return but focused on following a passion. I knew I wanted to ‘make’ something and have an outdoor element to my work. I parked this thought for a further two years whilst becoming a tactics instructor at the Land Warfare School in Warminster, and it was only by chance that my thoughts turned to wine production whilst visiting the South West of France and wine maker Jonathan Hesford at Domaine Treloar. Jon showed me and my wife around his winery and vineyard and offered for me to come and visit over the harvest period for an extended time. I returned two months later to experience how the business operated and what this lifestyle entailed.

In the same year I started as a volunteer at Renishaw Hall vineyard – a small but historic vineyard seven miles from Sheffield. I then enrolled at Plumpton College on the two year wine production course and whilst there, I also worked for the Rothschilds and Waddesdon Wine under the excellent MD Christopher Campbell, who showed me what the world of wine sales involved. I was fortunate to carry out numerous tastings of fantastic Rothschild wines, and by this stage it was clear that I was bitten by the wine bug. However, it was in production – growing the vines and making the wine – where my passion lay; I was interested in how it got into the bottle, not just drinking it!

I took on Renishaw Hall vineyard as my own project – Renishaw Hall wine is now selling all over the country, winning national and international awards and being sold into major retailers, we also have a thriving tourism business that draws thousands of visitors each year.

I became a contract wine maker at Halfpenny Green vineyards, assisting in the production of over 100k bottles per year and working with 20 plus different vineyards in the process. This experience meant that I got to produce just about every type of wine from still and sparkling through to Pét-Nat.

I combined these skills and experiences to start the English Wine Project. This is a consultancy business that covers all aspects of production from vineyard establishment, winemaking, wine sales, tourism, wider wine consultancy and I now advise vineyards and wine businesses from as far south as West Sussex all the way up to Yorkshire. We are expanding all the time and in the process of establishing a production facility producing English wines and ciders in Darley Abbey in Derbyshire.

I also managed a contract bottling business for three years, where we bottled predominantly beer and worked with over 50 national breweries, until I decided to return my focus fully to wine.

I first started working with Murphy and Son back in 2015 as a customer, and have now become part of the team guiding customers through all the nuances of wine.

When we started the wine side of the business, we knew wanted to work with the very best suppliers so that we could provide the best solutions to winemakers needs. This very quickly led to a conversation with Lallemand – a leading international supplier of oenology products, with a focus on yeast, nutrient and bacteria. The final piece of the jigsaw – especially in cool climate winemaking – was a partnership with a sparkling wine focused supply business. So it became a natural fit when we approached Perdomini – who specialise in just about every possible solution for stability and sparkling wine methods. These two companies, combined with over 130 years of Murphy and Son Ltd experience supplying the brewing sector, make us the complete grape to glass supply business – that can cover all oenological solutions and specialise in other areas such as cleaning, filtration and laboratory testing. So if you have a question, please do ask, as between us and our International partners we will have it covered.

I look forward to catching up in 2021! Kieron

If you would like technical support or more information on our oenology products, you can contact him at kieron.atkinson@murphyandson.co.uk

To view and shop our wine making store, please click here. We have an extensive range of MLF, Enzymes, Yeast and Inactivated yeasts and more to help you get from soil to cellar.