My Life in Food: Cherie Spriggs, head winemaker, Nyetimber


Nyetimber's vineyards were planted in West Sussex in 1988 with the aim of making a sparkling wine to rival champagne. Most critics agree they have pretty much succeeded.

 Spriggs joined, along with her husband Brad Greatrix, in 2007, after studying at the Wine Research Center in Vancouver and at Adelaide University. In a good year she makes 400,000 bottles but caused a stir last year when she declared that Nyetimber would not produce a 2012 vintage, the grapes not being up to her exacting standards. However, an early vintage of the "grower sparkling wine" was served to the Royal family on the Jubilee barge.

What are your most and least used piece of kitchen kit?

Quite honestly, my hands. I'm not really a kitchen gadgets person and anyway once I've opened a bottle of wine at the beginning of preparing a meal, the rest comes pretty naturally. One thing I haven't used for 10 years is a microwave.

If you only had £10 to spend on food, where would you spend it and on what?

I would put the £10 in my pocket and go to my allotment to pick some in-season, fresh vegetables. You don't get better flavour and nothing is fresher than something straight from the garden. I'd then use the £10 to buy lots more seeds.

What do you eat for comfort?

British asparagus with a fresh egg (preferably from my own chickens, which I keep in the garden) and sprout garnish is absolutely gorgeous in particular. You really can't beat it.

If you would only eat bread or potatoes for the rest of your life, which would you choose?

Tough one. My husband Brad and I work together at Nyetimber so fermentation is both our day jobs – so that leads me to bread. But then being a gardener, I'd say potatoes. They are such fun to grow and you can have so many varieties.

What's your desert island recipe?

A chef once taught me how to make Indian curries – so I would take the ingredients for that on my island. There are analogies between cooking a curry and making great wine. Timings really matter, freshness of spices, too. With the same ingredients you could make a variety of dishes, so you'd stay entertained on that island for a very long time.

What's your favourite restaurant?

I like to support restaurants close to the vineyards. In the last five years the choice has really grown. We have a few gems really close to us. A great example is The Pass at South Lodge Hotel. Not only does the chef Matt Gillan create some beautiful dishes, the hotel has a kitchen garden, which really fits with our ethos.

What's your favourite cookbook?

The internet is the place I turn to mostly these days. You can learn a lot about "the best" of whatever your current interest is. I must confess to reading quite a bit these days – it's excellent for identifying interesting producers.

Who taught you to cook?

My mother insists she didn't teach me to cook. However, she's certainly responsible for providing me with a confidence to explore, try new things and not be afraid in the kitchen.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Kim Wilde began gardening in the 1990s when she moved to the countryside
peopleThe singer is leading an appeal for the charity Thrive, which uses the therapy of horticulture
Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring a second for Arsenal against Reading
Life and Style
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Recruitment Genius: Bid / Tender Writing Executive

    £24000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With offices in Manchester, Lon...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Executives / Marketing Communications Consultants

    Competitive (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a number of Marketi...

    Recruitment Genius: Marketing Executive

    £20000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This well established business ...

    Ashdown Group: Management Accountant - Manchester

    £25000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Management Accountant - Manchester...

    Day In a Page

    NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

    Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

    A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
    How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

    How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

    Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
    From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

    The wars that come back to haunt us

    David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
    Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
    Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

    UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

    Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
    John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

    ‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

    Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
    Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

    Let the propaganda wars begin - again

    'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

    Japan's incredible long-distance runners

    Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
    Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

    Tom Drury: The quiet American

    His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
    You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

    You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

    Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
    Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

    Beige to the future

    Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

    Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

    More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
    Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

    Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

    The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
    Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own