Taste Red Wine With a View at Bolney Wine Estate in Sussex
Bolney Wine Estate, Bolney, West Sussex
Known as a specialist red wine producer, Bolney Wine Estate is one of the oldest established English vineyards. In a good year, over 120,000 bottles (including white, rosé and sparkling wines), are hand-crafted at this Sussex vineyard.
Enjoy vineyard views as you taste wine on the terrace at Bolney Wine Estate in Sussex
Sitting on the decked wooden terrace at Bolney Wine Estate this summer, with a glass of chilled Blanc de Blanc in my hand, and a view of the vines all around, grapes ripening, was wonderful.
The vineyard is just a hop, skip and a jump from the busy London to Brighton road but it feels like you’re in the deepest Sussex countryside. Better still, they have drop in tours and a smart café so it’s ideal for a spontaneous visit. It’s also the only vineyard I’ve visited with a Post Office!
Save this one to your sat nav and make a quick detour en route to Brighton which is only 10 miles away. It’s a great find so do share it with your friends on Facebook.
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The Story of Bolney Wine Estate
Back in 1972, Bolney Wine Estate was actually a chicken farm. Rodney Pratt, the owner of this third generation family-run business, had previously worked as an engineer in Germany where he had lived on a vineyard. Starting out with just three acres and influenced by what he’d seen there, he planted German vine varieties such as Bacchus. At the time, Bolney was just the sixth commercial vineyard in England.
Today the vineyard has expanded to 39 acres and is run by Rodney’s daughter, Sam Lintner, who trained at renowned Plumpton College. What makes Bolney Wine Estate stand out from its neighbours, is its reputation as a specialist red wine producer (although they do also produce sparkling wines and other still wines).
Rows of vines at Bolney
Bolney is known for its red wine
Take a Vineyard Tour
Take a vineyard tour and you’ll see the red sandstone soils that make the terrain at Bolney similar to the Burgundy region of France (many English vineyards share the chalky soils of the Champagne region). It’s on these south facing slopes, protected by trees, that Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and largely Chardonnay vines are grown. They’re trained high to protect them from frost and to allow maximum sunlight to penetrate the vines. With glimpses of the South Downs in the distance, you’ll be admiring the same landscape once viewed by the Prince Regent. He was a frequent visitor to Bolney Lodge when travelling to Brighton.
After your vineyard tour, enjoy a wine tasting
Bolney has its own Wine Shop
Choose From Different Vineyard Experiences
What’s appealing about Bolney is the different vineyard experiences and gift packages on offer. Do the drop in tour and, on the day you visit, you may be lucky enough to see the disgorging process in action in their state-of-the-art winery. The Tour, Wine Tasting and Lunch for Two experience is more leisurely and an ideal gift for a couple. What makes Bolney a special vineyard to visit, is the large decked terrace with its pretty view of the vineyard and its welcoming community feel. With the village Post Office and a bright and spacious café serving light dishes (platters, sandwiches and delicious cake), you can simply pop in to post a parcel or for a bite to eat.
Order a glass of wine with your lunch
The cafe serves light dishes
As part of the drop in tour, you’ll be invited to taste two wines. Start with a sparkling wine such as the Blanc de Blanc 2010. It’s exquisite. Made from 100% Chardonnay grapes and created using the traditional Champagne method, it has lots of yellow fruit character and yeasty undertones. For a red wine, try the Pinot Noir 2014, a fantastic example of a cool climate Pinot. It’s light enough to drink on its own and versatile enough to pair with chicken, rabbit, game, duck and pork. Buy a bottle of the Pinot Gris 2015 to take home with you. It’s the first English still wine to be served by British Airways in its First Class cabin.
- Wine Masterclasses take place on Saturdays covering a range of topics (booking required)
- Buy a map in the shop and walk the vineyard trail
- Visit nearby Old Mill Farm for the annual Wassail in January or to taste their delicious apple juice (they also have a stand at the Brighton Food Festival)
- For a wine tasting weekend in Sussex, book on to a vineyard tour at Ridgeview Wine Estate in nearby Ditchling to discover more about English sparkling wine
Ockenden Manor Hotel & Spa in Cuckfield – A Tudor manor house with Michelin dining, traditional interiors and a contemporary spa. If you stay here, pack your walking boots as it’s possible to walk to Bolney from the hotel
Mr Hendricks says, “Please check with Bolney Wine Estate”.
How to Find Bolney Wine Estate
Bolney Wine Estate, Foxhole Lane, Bolney, West Sussex, RH17 5NB
Bolney Wine Estate
Bolney Vineyard Tour and Wine Tasting
- Take a guided tour of the vineyard
- Bolney Wine Estate has been making wine since 1972
- Enjoy a tutored tasting of three wines
- Enjoy the beautiful Sussex countryside
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