Sunday sees the final day of the Bite Sussex Autumn food and drink festival. Nick Mosley reveals details of the day’s event focussing on local distilleries and wine makers.
The past decade has seen considerable growth in wine production in Sussex with over 70 vineyards across the two counties. Although traditional method sparkling wines – made from Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes – still account for the majority of wine production, there are an increasing number of producers who are focussing exclusively on premium still wines.
Alongside the expansion of wine making, craft spirit production is also on the up with numerous small-batch distillers creating gin, vodka, vermouth and even whiskey.
Both will be celebrated at the Bite Sussex Wine and Spirits Festival, hosted at My Brighton hotel on Jubilee Street, Brighton, on Sunday 19 September. A dozen producers will be in attendance including Bolney, Stopham and Wiston wine estates, Brighton Gin, Slake Spirits, G&H Spirits, Madame Jennifer, Wobblegate Orchards and Bottle & Jug Dept. In addition, guest distilleries attending with unique spirits include Arbikie Distillery from Scotland who will be sampling the world’s first climate positive gin and vodka, and Gin 1689 from Amsterdam inspired by the world’s oldest gin recipe.
Tom Flint is the owner of Bottle & Jug Dept in Worthing, specialising in local and craft beers, wines and spirits. He has a particular interest in natural and organic wines, including the ‘Pétillant-Naturel’ method of naturally sparkling wine that is bottled before the primary fermentation is complete.
“I’m going off piste with a line up of Pet Nat sparkling wines and some other natural bottles”, said Tom. “In terms of the drinks I’d like to sample on the day, I’m a big fan of what Wiston do so any chance to sample some of their superb English Sparkling wine is always a treat”.
Stopham Vineyard is located near Pulborough in West Sussex and will be exhibiting on Sunday.
“We’ll be showcasing our Stopham Sparkling Brut Prestige 2018, alongside two of our still wines – Bacchus 2018 and Pinot Gris 2020”, said Marie Davis of Stopham. “The festival is a great opportunity to taste award-winning Sussex spirits and wine under the same roof. I’m particularly looking forward to sampling the Bacchus Wild Elixir from our colleagues at Slake Spirits”.
Although the event is aimed at consumers, its also a rare opportunity for local businesses within the industry to get together and sample each others drinks.
“As a newly launched brand, G&H Spirits are thrilled to have the opportunity to stand alongside the best Sussex has to offer and showcase our multi award-winning Initial Gin range”, said Katie Overton-Hart, G&H Spirits
“This is a rare opportunity for connoisseurs and aficionados alike to ‘meet the makers’, all under one-roof. As well showcasing our own products, we’re really looking forward to meeting so many successful, well-established brands that all have their own unique offering in Sussex”.
There are two ticketed sessions – 1-3pm and 3.30-5.30pm – priced at £10 which includes a welcome drink and tastings at all the exhibitor stands. To purchase tickets in advance click here.