Where do you think of when you think of beautiful wine? France, Italy, Spain? South Africa, Australian maybe Chile? How about England, more specifically the South Downs. That’s right we really do produce some amazing wines, all courtesy of our wonderful location! Sitting on the chalky hills, the South Downs has the ability to produce some excellent grapes ripe and ready for wine making.
The Geology of the South Downs has a lot of the same properties as the Champagne region in France topped with the South-facing edges that get the breeze from the sea and the warmer weather coming in from the South, all these things add to great sparkling wine!
Due to the great land we now have quite a few vineyards dotted around different areas of the South Downs. I thought I’d take a quick look at a few, maybe you’d like to take a little visit one day.
Upperton Vineyard – This vineyard is set in the heart of the South Downs. It is a family run vineyard, producing Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir. There is a lovely little extra at this vineyard as well, the Terrace Bar!! Here you can sit over the vineyard taking in the beautiful sites whilst sipping on a glass of glorious wine and tucking into some lovely Sussex cheese – open 12-5pm Friday and Saturday. Vineyard Tours are also available at request.
Stopham Estate – Sat in Pulborough this vineyard produces wine with sustainability, precision and passion at the forefront. They want to maintain a natural eco-system that is best for their grapes. Originally planted in 2007 they have been busy growing vines and producing wine ever since. Tasting tours are available, you can even book them as a gift for someone else.
Hambledon Vineyard– Hambledon vineyard has been going since 1952 when the first grape varieties were planted. What’s so special about Hambledon is the events and activities that are available, not only is there the traditional wine tours you can also book on to various event like ‘Be a Winemaker Evening’ or ‘Mother’s Day Afternoon Tea’, ‘Chocolate and wine tasting evening’ and so many more! You can even choose to have your special day amongst the vines!
Ridgeview -The Winners of Winemaker of the year, International Wine and Spirit competition 2018, Ridgeview is a lovely vineyard within the South Downs. You can drop in for tasting sessions between 11am-4pm or you can book in advance for a tour and tasting session. 20 years in the business and onto the 2nd generation of the family running the vineyard, Ridgeway have achieved some amazing global goals. They have an extra special wine club available to join and they also run lots of other events from crafting and creating to food and drink nights.
Breaky Bottom Estate – With just 6 acres of Vineyard set in the South Downs it is a small family run business. Like the others it uses the land to get the most from the grapes. Visitors to Breaky Bottom are welcome but must pre-book, tours are available to book out for a small group.
Rathfinney Wine Estate – Growing on the South facing Slopes the Rathfinney estate is in perfect location for producing some of the best English wines they aim to be one of the most significant vineyards in Europe! They actually have the capability of producing over one million bottles a year! The Rathfinney estate even has a B and B within the estate ‘The Flint Barns’ They also have a Dining room available for you to come and have evening meals on weekends, alongside this is the Tasting room which is an award winning restaurant ‘The Plate MICHELIN 2020’ reservations can be made on their website. They also hold tours and tastings and many events including – Wellbeing breakfast and meditation morning, Astromony events. They even have the Rathfinney trail you follow through the estate!!
With so many vineyards on the South Downs you can see why the English wine is now holding its own amongst the award givers. Why not take a few days out of your hectic busy life’s and come and do a tour of all the tours, visiting all the vineyards and taking in the beautiful scenes whilst tasting the beautiful wine’s.