If you haven’t been, or haven’t been for a while, it’s time to head to Bolney Wine Estate. It’s just undergone a transformation with the launch of a brand new café and vineyard shop. For those that don’t know, Bolney is the oldest commercial vineyard in Sussex, the first vines having been planted back in 1972. At the time, they were pioneering and for many locals, their café, with views over the vines, has long been a favourite hang-out. But with the Sussex wine and vineyard scene going from strength to strength at the moment, Bolney has just upped its game.
Stylish new space
If you have previously visited Bolney Wine Estate, you may remember that the ground floor under the café was the warehouse. But no more! It’s now a super stylish café with indoor and outdoor seating and lots of lovely local ingredients. Better still, there’s an Enomatic machine which means you can try Bolney wines by the glass. Happy days. There’s also a shop and new tour and tasting rooms, one of which has a balcony with views of the vineyard.
There’s a lot on offer at Bolney. They offer tours and tastings, cheese and wine tours, and they have also collaborated with Sussex Wine School to offer WSET wine awards for those wanting to know a bit more about wine and wine tasting. But I opted for afternoon tea. It’s not on offer all the time (so look out for times when it is) but what’s not to love about dainty sandwiches, scones and jam, and little cakes and pastries under a canopy looking out over the vines?
A short walk from the main building, in a tranquil little corner, we washed down our afternoon tea with sparkling wine, of course. Guided by our sommelier, the biggest decision of the afternoon was whether we preferred the Classic Bolney Bubbly or the Rosé. The Classic was light, refreshing and floral but quite sweet for a Brut. The Rosé was fruity but surprisingly dry (in a good way). Both were very drinkable and the perfect way to drift through a warm autumn afternoon in the country. We might even have bought a couple of bottles back in the shop.
But don’t take my word for it. Head down to the café or book yourself a tasting. You can book here: here
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