Bolney Wine Estate, the West Sussex based vineyard producing award-winning still and sparkling English wines, celebrates its half centenary this year writes Nick Mosley.
Fifty years ago, English wine was rarer than the proverbial hen’s teeth. So when vineyard founders Janet and Rodney Pratt first took on the challenge of planting vines in sunny Sussex, they encountered sceptics – both at home and abroad – who maintained it was impossible to produce quality in the marginal, cool-climate terroir of England.
At that time Bolney Wine Estate was just one of a handful of commercial vineyards in the UK, a far cry from the 800 plus that exist today.
Since 1972, guided by nature and a true understanding of the local microclimate, the estate has been at the forefront of the resurgence of English wine through its use of pioneering techniques, bold innovation and a belief that English wine is deserving of global recognition.
The vineyard and winery has had many milestones including garnering innumerable high-profile national and international awards for both their sparkling and still wines, including what are quite possibly the finest English still red wines on the market to date.
Bolney is headed up by Sam Linter, managing director and head winemaker, who last year became chair of Wine GB, the national body representing the UK’s domestic wine industry.
“Fifty years means a lot to us as a family, and as we reflect on our journey, we can only say thank you for the immeasurable support our colleagues, community, supporters and extended Bolney family have given us”, said Sam.
“My parents would have been thrilled to see that the seed they planted so many decades ago has grown into something so special. Cheers to fifty years!”.
Looking to the year ahead, the Estate is celebrating with an extensive schedule of events and new wine releases including unveiling a portfolio of exclusive wines to demonstrate Bolney’s journey, and its continuing innovation in winemaking. The programme will include special ‘Golden’ tours and vertical tastings with Sam, new menu launches in their restaurant, a Winemaker’s Dinner as well as celebrations in the vines.
Bolney Wine Estate’s Eighteen Acre Café is open daily. Events and tours are available to book at www.bolneywineestate.com
Bolney Wine Estate, Foxhole Lane, Bolney, Haywards Heath RH17 5NB
01444 881 575 • www.bolneywineestate.com