In 1994 we planted our original site at the foot of the South Downs in Sussex. With advice from Epernay we selected 13 French clones of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier on three different rootstocks. This way we can emulate “l’assemblage” of the Champagne Houses that combine together the vintages of small vineyards, thereby creating imaginative blends.
We have expanded our production through the development of partnerships with a number of growers who are predominantly in or adjacent to the South Downs National Park.
“To me, it was obvious that sparkling wine was the way to go because what you get here in Sussex (and in Champagne) is fully ripe grapes with great flavour, but which aren’t high in alcohol, as this prevents fermentation, which creates fizz. Because we get cold nights even in summer, English grapes have super-acidity – the hallmark of a good sparkling wine”
The regions climate is semi-continental and, like the champagne region just 88 miles to the south, has cool nights which make it ideally suited for the growing of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier for traditional method sparkling wines. The cooler climate enables the grapes to retain high levels of natural acidity when they are fully ripe which is crucial to producing sparkling wines with fine flavours.