Excellent Sussex wine is produced within a mile or two of our home in the village of Ditchling. The climate and soil in this part of the Sussex South Downs are both exceptionally well-suited to the cultivation of grapes. We have our own grape vine - Vitis vinifera 'Brandt' - in our garden and each summer it produces a wonderful crop of delicious red grapes which we eat straight from the vine.
For a treat, friends sometimes bring a wonderful bottle (or two) of the local
Ridgeview Estate wine
when they come to supper.
Ridgeview have won numerous prizes for their excellent wines - in just over 7 years they have won over 80 medals and 15 trophies in International and National Competitions. Most recently, RidgeView’s Merret Fitzrovia 2004 won the coveted Jean Feraud trophy in the 2007 competition for the Best International Sparkling Rosé. This award winning RidgeView Merret Fitzrovia (Rosé) 2004 can be found at selected Waitrose, The Wine Society, Harrods, Fortnum & Mason and other speciality resellers around the country. RidgeView's sparkling wine was the only English wine on the menu for the Queen's 80th Birthday lunch.
A course on wine tasting starts at Ridgeway Monday 2nd November, 7-9pm. Further details: Fragbarrow Lane, Ditchling Common Haywards Heath, Sussex BN68TP Tel: 020 8991 8213
Slightly closer to the foot of the South Downs is the Plumpton Agricultural College vineyard.
Originally belonging to the old Ditchling Vineyards, this is a highly productive and successful vineyard. In fact, the owner of RidgeView actually studied viticulture at Plumpton College prior to starting his business in the 1990s.
Recently, 'The Dean of Plumpton College', which has been described as 'pale and perfectly formed', has won a top accolade.This is the name of a Plumpton Estate non-vintage sparkling wine which, in March 2008 beat three champagnes, 67 other UK sparkling wines and a Californian Napa Valley sparkling wine. Made from the same grape varieties that are used in the Champagne region of France: Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, this Plumpton wine is described as 'pale, lemon-gold with fine persistent bubbles'.
Breaky Bottom Wine
Breaky Bottom was established in 1974 and lies in a fold in the South Downs, about 5 miles from Lewes in East Sussex. Visits are by appointment and can usually be made at short notice. Driving south from the town of Lewes, on the road to Rodmell, you will pass the villages of Kingston, Swanborough and Iford. After Iford (but before Rodmell) look for a right turn off the road into Northease Farm. Breaky Bottom is situated 1.25 miles over the hill, following the farm track!
Sussex wine from Seddlescombe Organic Wines
Established in 1979, England's oldest organic vineyard is situated north of Hastings, not far from Battle. ‘Master of Wine' Jancis Robinson rated their products as “some of the most delicious English wines” she has ever tasted.
Watch the first five minutes of this useful introductory video about Sussex wine:
Check below for more Sussex wines ...
Specialising in the sparkling wines of the champagne region, the West Sussex vineyard of Nyetimber, produces award-winning wines which are widely available throughout the county and in Waitrose stores.
A friend visited for supper the other evening and brought with him one of the most delicious wines I have ever drunk; it was a 2007 Horsmonden Dry White Wine. This light and fruity Sussex wine is from a vineyard in Rotherfield, near Crowborough. The Davenport Vineyard is in the process of becoming organic, and judging by this wine, they will be even more successful if their wines are all completely organic.
First planted in 1980, now with 18 acres in production, Nutbourne Vineyards grow 7 different kinds of grape and produce between 25,000 to 50,000 bottles of wine a year which have won several awards. Located near Pulborough in West Sussex.
Situated near Mayfield in East Sussex, this new vineyard produces sparkling wines from Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris grapes.
Carr-Taylor have been producing a range of award-winning still and sparkling wines from their vineyards near Hastings since 1971. They have a shop and an online shopping facility and organise tours of the vineyard throughout the year, except at Christmas and the New Year.
Started on 3 acres of land in 1972, Bookers Vineyard, near Bolney in West Sussex, is one of the oldest Sussex vineyards. Now consisting of 22 acres of vines, Bookers produces award-winning Sussex wine as well as offering tours and wine-tasting.