Visit a Sussex vineyard All posts

Visit a Sussex Vineyard

Nutty - winner of the best UK wine award 2013 There is more and more talk these days about the increasing quality of English wines and Sussex is right at the heart of this exciting development. From world class sparkling wines to small production still wines, there are lots of vineyards open to visitors. You can taste and buy the wines direct from the cellar door, walk the vines and even have a meal. If you want to learn more about wine-making, quite a few offer winery tours as well.

If you have not come across English wines before, just a couple of things you need to know – firstly never, ever, ever, say “British wine”. This term means wine made in the UK from imported grapes and is very much frowned upon by those making wine from locally grown grapes.

Another useful fact is that English sparkling wine is made in exactly the same way as champagne – a time consuming process which means that it takes several years to get from grape to finished wine. Many Sussex wines use the traditional grapes of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier; some examples of this English fizz even beat wines from Champagne in blind tastings. Other sparkling wines may use one or two of those grapes, perhaps blended with lesser known varieties suited to our climate, producing wines which express the English terroir – a combination of soil, weather and other environmental factors.Bolney Produce

For the all-round visitor experience, Bolney Estate near Haywards Heath offers award winning wines – their sparkling and even their red wines have gained much respect. There’s a café open Tuesday to Saturday where you can have a personal wine tasting and you can book tours there, too. Right over to the west of Sussex near Hastings, you have Carr Taylor, another vineyard open pretty much every day of the year for exploring and buying wine – they have an excellent vineyard trail for children, too. Very close by is Sedlescombe, open every day to showcase their organic and biodynamic wines.

Highdown Vineyard on the outskirts of Worthing is a newer member of the pack, they are already starting to demonstrate quality wine production and have a barn with a shop. There’s also a tea room with local produce popular with visitors and locals alike for lunch and open 6 days a week – who needs a ploughman’s when you can have a vigneron’s lunch, accompanied by a glass of their wine?

Nutbourne vineyards view from the millNutbourne Vineyards near Pulborough won the best UK wine award 2013 from the UKVA for their “Nutty” sparkling wine made from Pinot Noir, Reichensteiner and Chardonnay grapes. They are open 5 days a week from May to September for tasting and self-guided vineyard tours. Upperton Vineyards near Petworth are open for tasting and purchase every weekend year-round. Court Garden Vineyard at Ditchling offer vineyard tours and sparkling wine tours most Saturdays throughout the year, too. Just down the road are Ridgeview whose Cellar Door Shop is open weekdays in Winter and 6 days a week the rest of the year; tours can also be booked.

Tinwood Estate is near Goodwood and their Tasting Room is open every day. Rathfinny Estate is a brand new vineyard only just planted; they won’t be producing wine for a year or two yet, but their new shop The Gun Room on The Tye in Alfriston is well worth a visit.

Breaky Bottom Vineyard south of Lewes is open by appointment for tastings and purchase, but most of us are a bit shy to just call up a vineyard if we haven’t previously tried the wines. One of the best ways to discover new producers is during English Wine Week, usually the last week of May when many vineyards will have special events and extra tours. There’s also the English Wine Centre near Alfriston.

Highdown vineyard signAt any vineyard you choose to visit, you’ll be impressed by the passion and hard work that goes into making wine in our inclement climate as well as by the quality of wine produced. Please just remember that they are all working vineyards; the people you meet are often the owners themselves who will take a little time off from their duties to talk with you about the wines and offer a taste or two. The time they take off is rarely begrudged – they wouldn’t be working in a vineyard if they weren’t passionate about it and most love to share that passion, but do remember that they are running a business, so try not to take up too much of their time if you have no intention of buying. I defy you, though, not to find some wines you love, their flavour enhanced by seeing the grapes growing and hearing the stories behind them.

About the Author:
Elisabeth Else

Be the first to comment...

Add a comment:

Gender:    Woman     Man



Code:   Generate a new code

Please add your comments here...

All blog posts

Ducks turn from drab to fab for winter – Published 1st November 2016

Sussex Walking Inspiration – Published 22nd September 2016

10 reasons to get to Goodwood in 2015 – Published 3rd February 2015

UPMARKET Designer Fair - St Leonards – Published 25th March 2014

Visit a Sussex vineyard – Published 13th January 2014

6 Sussex specific things – Published 5th October 2013

Brighton plays spot the cuttlefish – Published 28th September 2013

John Godber on September in the rain – Published 19th September 2013

Borde Hill Garden autumn highlights – Published 9th September 2013

WWT Arundel: not as wild as you think – Published 4th September 2013

Judging the Great Horsham Bake off – Published 2nd September 2013

Motorcycle heaven at Festival of Speed – Published 30th May 2013

Sussex wildflower paradise – Published 28th May 2013

Goodwood Revival tribute to Jim Clark – Published 11th May 2013

Zimmer Stewart Gallery marks 10 years – Published 9th May 2013

Spring at High Beeches Garden – Published 1st May 2013

Lewes celebrates the Feast of St Pancras – Published 20th April 2013

Save seeds: High Beeches Treasure Hunt – Published 19th March 2013

Seven Good things of Sussex – Published 11th March 2013

Matronalia Roman origins of Mothers Day? – Published 4th March 2013

Mums the word at Drusillas Park – Published 1st March 2013

A wheelie special return for speed icon – Published 19th February 2013

Exploring 3 Sussex Windmills – Published 1st November 2012

The Chichester Lambert Barnard Paintings – Published 16th October 2012

The art and science of autumn – Published 10th October 2012

Colourful highlights at Arundel Castle – Published 26th September 2012

Sussex celebrates the seasonal harvest – Published 25th September 2012

5 top Great Expectations facts – Published 21st September 2012

Truth and lies from deep Sussex past – Published 14th September 2012

East Sussex Arts Alert – Published 10th September 2012

Could dull summer benefit leaf-peepers? – Published 4th September 2012

Clock ticking for hang on a minute lads – Published 31st August 2012

Rural East Sussex: A walkers paradise – Published 15th August 2012

Hastings Old Town Carnival Week 2012 – Published 27th July 2012

All that Jazz: Rye's summer festival – Published 20th July 2012

C'mon spider safari with me – Published 18th July 2012

6 summer reasons to visit Fishers Farm – Published 7th July 2012

Harry Potter and the Arundel Chef – Published 6th July 2012

Arundel encourages Wetland Detectives – Published 20th June 2012

The Walled Garden at Newick Park – Published 18th June 2012

River Arun: maintain right to navigate – Published 7th June 2012

Sussex in the Spring – Published 14th May 2012

Regular Music II with Kaffe Matthews – Published 8th May 2012

Nice weather for ducks – Published 28th April 2012

Art Courses at Flimwell 2012 – Published 18th April 2012

Dog Walking in Sussex – Published 13th April 2012

Visiting Fishbourne Roman Palace – Published 11th April 2012

Sussex Observatory and Museums at Night – Published 2nd April 2012

Scotts forgotten legacy? – Published 29th March 2012

St Richard's Shine restored Chichester – Published 22nd March 2012

Brighton remembers Princess Charlotte – Published 13th March 2012

Celebrating 40 years of bluebell walks – Published 1st March 2012

Jerry meets Margo for Arundel Good Life – Published 18th February 2012

Silver Arrows racing at Goodwood Revival – Published 11th February 2012

BBC films Henry V at Arundel Castle – Published 8th February 2012

Sussex snowy garden scenes – Published 6th February 2012

Heelwalker praises Sussex walks – Published 2nd February 2012

Sussex Food & Drink Awards winners! – Published 30th January 2012

Return of the windmills – Published 20th January 2012

Chichester Harbour guide 2012 available – Published 9th January 2012

Brighton's Regency pleasure palace – Published 4th January 2012

Arundel's winter wonderland walk – Published 30th December 2011

Drusillas festive food parcels – Published 25th December 2011

Celebrate Xmas with a Sussex sparkling – Published 17th December 2011

Baby Colobus monkey born in Sussex – Published 14th December 2011

Take a festive dip in Arundel Lido – Published 5th December 2011

Sussex's 5 nominees - Coast Awards 2012 – Published 30th November 2011

Brighton B&B stars in TVs 4-in-a-bed – Published 20th November 2011

Chichester gains Fairtrade gold cockerel – Published 16th November 2011

SE awards finalist: Pelham House – Published 14th November 2011

Autumn's Blooming Fungi – Published 10th November 2011

Seasonal recipe: spiced pumpkin tart – Published 7th November 2011

Veteran cars make a run to Brighton – Published 6th November 2011

Streets of fire: Lewes bonfire – Published 2nd November 2011

Paul goes to: Brighton Sealife Centre – Published 28th October 2011

Carr-Taylor makes special xmas offer – Published 24th October 2011

Cathedral's glass wings unveiled – Published 21st October 2011

Brighton's most haunted house? – Published 18th October 2011

High octane thrills for Brighton – Published 14th October 2011

Autumn Food: Arundel's the place to be – Published 3rd October 2011

Wanted: Roman Palace Seeks Friends – Published 26th September 2011

Seafood and Wine: tasty Hastings event – Published 18th September 2011

The best events in Sussex this October – Published 14th September 2011

Horsham Big Nibble trail – Published 30th August 2011

Discover West Blatchington Windmill – Published 20th August 2011

Salvador Dali and Edward James – Published 15th August 2011

Goodwood Revival celebrates Spitfires – Published 9th August 2011

Flog It: Paul Martin heads to Bexhill – Published 5th August 2011

Sussex stoolball ladies tournament – Published 3rd August 2011

Sussex wine review: Bodiam Harvest 2010 – Published 31st July 2011

Spotlight: Great Dixter – Published 17th July 2011

Rediscover: Macdonald Max Gill – Published 13th July 2011

The Wey & Arun Canal restoration – Published 10th July 2011

Taste Test: Bolney Estates 2010 Rose – Published 5th July 2011

Giant animals sculptures for Borde Hill – Published 1st July 2011

Sussex-saurus: dinosaurs in Brighton – Published 27th June 2011

Rupert Everett speaks fondly of Sussex – Published 22nd June 2011

New eatery opens at The Stade, Hastings – Published 20th June 2011

Nick Blinko at Pallant House Gallery – Published 18th June 2011

Coming soon: it's Arundel Festival – Published 17th June 2011

Chichester harbour photography comp – Published 13th June 2011

Visiting the South of England show? – Published 9th June 2011

A beach on a rooftop! – Published 6th June 2011

Big accolades in Littlehampton – Published 31st May 2011

Hidden Journeys over Midhurst – Published 24th May 2011

Pallants nominated for deli of the year – Published 19th May 2011

Borde Hill Garden's Rise of the Rose – Published 16th May 2011

Brighton Festival is A-May-Zing – Published 7th May 2011

Must be British – Published 4th May 2011

Harvey's launch Royal Nuptial Ale – Published 19th April 2011

Great Gardens of Sussex – Published 15th April 2011

Lewes House Brotherhood and The Kiss – Published 3rd April 2011

Itinerary Planner