Litmus Wines


John Worontschak is an Australian born and trained winemaker who came to England in the mid 1980’s after honing his craft in Australia, California and France.

In 1988 at the Thames Valley Vineyard in Berkshire he established a contract winemaking company receiving grapes from all over the country and made award-winning wines of a uniquely outstanding quality. With youthful confidence and a touch of arrogance he accrued many accolades and much controversy in what was a fledgling and conservative industry.

After a period in the noughties of consulting to wineries around the world from Mexico to Moldova (and many places in between) he returned to the UK wine industry with a renewed vigour and a far greater understanding of wine and the cultures surrounding it.

At this time the sparkling wine industry had taken off in the UK and although John was one of the pioneers in the making of quality English sparkling wines it was English still wines that were his passion and he set out to make a world class premium English still wine. In 2010 the first Litmus Element 20 was made.


English wines are often deliciously scented floral and aromatic, often described with adjectives such as hedgerow, gooseberries or elderflower. Utilising his vast experience in cool climate and English winemaking Johns aim is to forgo these easily attained characters for more robust, complex food wines with long ageing potential and a balanced acidity that’s found in quality Northern European grape growing regions.

Seeking out the best parcels of fruit from the most distinguished sites in the UK , John is able to craft world class wines that are once again at the forefront of English winemaking.

The star wheel on the label is a representation of a coccolith, a sea creature with a calcium shell that has been laid down over millennia to create the chalky soil found on the cliffs of Dover and throughout swathes of the South East. Calcium being the 20th element of the peroiodic table reflects the chalk rich soils that the grapes for Element 20 are grown upon.

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