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Bolney co-founder Rodney Pratt passes away

Published:  21 June, 2021

Rodney Pratt, co-founder of Bolney Wine Estate, has passed away.

Pratt and his wife Janet founded Bolney Wine Estate almost 50 years ago in 1972, planting what was then one of the earlier commercial vineyards in the UK.

Pratt was of "the studious type” when he was younger and enjoyed learning new things, said Bolney Wine Estate in a statement. 

When he was studying chemistry and engineering he undertook a placement at Gutenberg University, in Mainz, Germany, and whilst there, another interest began. He spent most of his six months there in the vineyards of Louis Guntrum and from there learned about the difference between the “everyday wines and good German wines”.  

It was from this discovery – and his wife’s "love of the land" – that the couple first realised their dream, "a passion and faith that sparked off a journey that has now spanned three generations of the family".

Their daughter Sam Linter, MD and head winemaker, caught the wine bug from her parents in the nineties. 

“The family was devastated to lose Janet in 2005 and wished alongside Rodney she could have seen how Bolney continued to grow over the next couple of decades,” the Sussex winery said.

“Pratt carried on in his later role as company president and was proud of his daughter and of all the staff at Bolney that worked so hard to continue what he saw as his and Janet’s legacy.

“He will be sorely missed by all and we are now taking the time to reflect on both founders and the amazing risk they took in creating a business that has given so many people so much joy.”