Hic hic hooray! Local vineyards to enjoy for English Wine Week
English wine is officially having a moment and Sussex wines are raking in the awards - and what better time to try it than during English Wine Week? Top up your glass with a drop from one of these local vineyards.
Plus, don’t miss your chance to win a gorgeous picnic box, bottle of wine and tasting tour from Bolney Wine Estates! Enter here.
What? This year marks the 10-year anniversary of this 26-acre vineyard which sits just eight miles from Brighton. Co-owner and manager Alison had a career in marketing before pivoting and studying viticulture and winemaking at Plumpton College in Lewes while her children were young. Albourne now sponsors the recently opened Wine Research Centre at Plumpton, oh, and it makes rather good wine too.
Where? Albourne, East Sussex, with glorious views of the South Downs from the stunning new tasting rooms and the coast just a stone’s throw away for a grand day out.
How do I try? Direct from the vineyard – hotfoot it over for free delivery on orders over £50. Or buy from local stockists including Steyning’s Sussex Produce Company, Hennings, and South Downs Cellars.
Stand-out sip: Pinot Noir is now the most widely planted grape variety in the UK, outstripping good old Chardonnay for the first time. Albourne makes three different tipples from this grape, a still and sparking white and a red, so snap up the Expressions of Pinot Noir tasting case to quaff ’em all at a 15% discount.
What? Founders Janet and Rodney were among the early pioneers of English wine back in 1972. The three acres they planted up at Bolney became only the sixth commercial vineyard in England at the time. Their daughter Sam is now winemaker alongside a team that have all graduated from nearby Plumpton College. Justifiably, the estate has raked in the awards, most recently scooping Winery of the Year at the 2017 UK Wine Awards.
Where? Bolney is near Haywards Heath in West Sussex. For English Wine Week there’s free virtual tastings, each focusing on one of the estate’s award-winning wines. Perfect enjoyed with a gorgeous picnic box, the latest addition to the Bolney At Home service.
How do I try? Shop all the wines, plus food, gifts and accessories, direct from the vineyard either online, or at the on-site store.
Stand-out sip: The Pinot Gris is a medium-bodied and smooth white with plenty of fresh pear, citrus and honeysuckle. The 2016 expression wowed judges at the UK Wine Awards.
What? Founders Mike and Chris decided to realise their vision of a world-class Sussex sparkling wine more than 20 years ago. Their chosen site on the chalk soil of the South Downs truly is the ridge with a view and the wines it produces have been awarded Best Sparkling Wine in the World by Decanter, and served at Buckingham Palace and 10 Downing Street.
Where? Ditchling Common, in the lee of the mighty Beacon, just a short distance from Brighton and the coast.
How do I try? Shop direct from the vineyard, and get an exclusive online peek behind-the-scenes with every purchase during English Wine Week. Or head to Waitrose, Fortnum & Mason or Booths.
Stand-out sip: The Fitzrovia Rose was served to Barack Obama by The Queen. So, you know, it’s OK we guess. Glug it down during one of Ridgeview and partners’ digital English Wine Week events.
What? In 1998 the holy trinity of sparkling wine grapes – Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier – were planted in the lee of the South Downs, and the rest is effervescent history.
Where? West Chiltington, a tiny village buried in the depths of West Sussex, close to the South Downs National Park and a short drive from the coast.
How do I try? Direct from the vineyard or enter your postcode to find your local stockist if Fortnum & Mason is too much of a hike.
Stand-out sip: The flagship Cuvee rakes in all the awards, consistently.
What? From swine to vine, a former pig-farm planted up in 2005 as a hobby that went commercial just two years later.
Where? On the edge of the Ashdown Forest – keep your eyes peeled for Winnie the Pooh!
How do I try? Online, with code OFFER30 for a 30% discount and free delivery.
Stand-out sip: The signature 2016 Blanc de Blancs is perfect with fish.