Sussex wine continues to go from strength to strength, gaining an international reputation for quality. This is in part due to the Sussex terroir being very similar to that in the Champagne region of France, in part due to our increasingly warm climate, and in part due to the passion and painstaking hard work of our many local producers.
For the Sussex wine drinker, there has never been a better time to enjoy great wine and learn more about what goes into a good glass of Sussex bubbly (as well as Sussex still wine, of course). Which is why Sussex Exclusive is delighted to be part of the Bubbles and Botanicals event this year, at which you’ll be able to try and buy, and learn more about a number of local vineyards. And with that in mind, here are some of the superb Sussex vineyards and wineries that will be at the Bubbles and Botanicals event and are worth keeping on your vineyard radar.
Just to the north of Ditchling, they have been producing wine at Ridgeview for over 25 years. They were one of the first wineries in England to focus on the production of sparkling wines from Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grape varieties. These days they are multi-award-winning producers of sparkling wine and one of Sussex’s big names. They offer tours of the vineyards, winery, and cellars and tastings, and have a stunning new restaurant, The Rows & Vine.
For more information visit: Ridgeview
Based just to the west of Petworth, the first Roebuck vines were planted in 2006 and they now have pockets of vines in different locations across the county. They produce outstanding sparkling wines including award-winning Classic Cuvée vintages, Blanc de Noirs and Rosé de Noirs. They are members of the Sustainable Wines of Great Britain (SWGB) certification scheme and are committed to sustainable packaging. They also have their own wine club.
For more information visit: Roebuck Estates
Just west of Horsham, House Coren is a vineyard, négociant and winery, and a relatively new kid on the block. They produce sparkling wine using the Charmat method (where the wine undergoes secondary fermentation in a sealed tank rather than a bottle). Their debut wine, the House Coren Boco is a blend of 42% Reichenstiener, 29% Chardonnay, and 29% Pinot Noir, and is causing quite a stir.
For more information visit: House Coren
To the east of Horsham, Leonardslee has perhaps best been known for its lakes, gardens, and Interlude restaurant. Until now. Because they have recently planted four acres of Pinot Noir and Pinotage grapes. Their first harvest took place in Autumn 2020 with the first release of English wine set for 2023. Leonardslee is also under the same ownership as the Benguela Cove Lagoon Wine Estate in South Africa which produces award-winning wines. There are lots of different experiences on offer at Leonardslee, including a Sabrage experience, a cheese and wine pairing, walking tours and tastings.
For more information visit: Leonardslee Wines
Fox and Fox
Just outside Mayfield and in the High Weald part of Sussex, Fox and Fox is a boutique vineyard. They first planted vines in 2004 and produced their first wine in 2009. They grow Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris and every one of their wines is award-winning. The emphasis here is on minimal intervention in the vineyard and light manipulation in the winery to make wines that are the best expression of the grapes in that particular vintage. They produce a core range of wines each vintage and some limited edition wines, which only appear in exceptional years.
For more information visit: Fox and Fox
Bluebell Vineyard Estates
Not far from the historic Bluebell Railway, this vineyard is on the site of a former pig farm. The first vines were planted in 2005 and Bluebell Vineyard is now home to over 100,000 vines growing Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier as well as Seyval Blanc, Bacchus, Ortega, Chasselas and Merlot. All Bluebell wines are vintage wines, and in addition to their award-winning sparkling wines, they are now also producing still wine. They offer tours and tastings.
For more information visit: Bluebell Vineyard
Tickerage is a small, family-owned and run vineyard just outside Uckfield with just 5 acres of vines. They first planted 8,000 vines in 2007 primarily Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir grapes. Their first harvest followed in 2009 and went into their first wine, the award-winning 2009 Tickerage Blush. They now produce a Classic Cuvée, Sparkling Rosé, Blanc de Blanc and Pinot Meunier as well as some still wine and cider and they’ve won a number of awards. They also offer tours and tastings.
For more information visit: Tickerage
Tucked away down a quiet country lane near Petworth, Stopham is a still wine specialist, with the majority of their wines based on their Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Auxerrois and Bacchus grape varieties. They also now make sparkling wine with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. They offer vineyard, winery and wine tasting tours with the winemaker from April to September and sustainability is very much at the heart of what they do.
For more information visit: Stopham
Plumpton Estate Wines
Plumpton College has a Wine Division and a reputation for being one of the finest wine facilities in the UK. They have 10 hectares of vineyards producing 40,000 bottles of award-winning still and sparkling wines each year, produced by their students, and their vine-growing and winemaking experts. They have a purpose-built Plumpton Wine Centre which includes a commercial winery, research winery, laboratories and a sensory evaluation room.
For more information visit: Plumpton Wines
In between Hadlow Down and Crowborough and in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Downsview was planted in 2010. They have a mixture of grape varietals including Dornfelder, Bacchus and Ortega, and the Champagne grape varieties of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier. Their vines also benefit from a nearby orchard of native English fruit trees. This is a family vineyard with almost everything done by hand. Their wines include sparkling white, red and rosés as well as white and red still wines, and ciders. They offer tours and tastings, as well as a camping experience.
For more information visit: Downsview
You can sample all these wines, at the Bubbles and Botanicals Fair at South Lodge on the 19th November 2002: Bubbles and Botanicals
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