6 vineyard tours and tastings to try in Sussex
- Credit: Albourne Estate
Brush up on your wine know-how with these great tastings and tours at vineyards in Sussex
1. The Big Red Routemaster Vineyard Tour of Sussex. Setting off from Brighton railway station, this quirky tour on a vintage 1964 Routemaster London bus whisks you away on a full-day tour of two Sussex vineyards: Court Garden near Ditchling and Albourne Estate. There's tours and tastings at both, plus a picnic lunch at the first stop.
From £97, book via albourneestate.co.uk
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2. Wine Tasting Tour & Riverside Lunch, Stopham Vineyard, Pulborough. This beautiful estate offers a tour and tasting with the winemaker most Saturdays at 11am or 2pm between April and October. It’s great for an insight into how the vines are nurtured, as well as the winemaking process Plus, you'll get to taste all the Stopham wines. You can add on a delicious lunch by the River Arun.
£25 per person or £42 including lunch at the nearby pub, stophamvineyard.co.uk
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3. Summer Estate Tours at Rathfinny, Alfriston. These sun-soaked tours, which run from May to September, give you a glimpse of how the grapes are turned into Sussex wines. In one hour 45 minutes, you'll be taken through a year in the life of the vineyard, including how the vines are looked after and what's involved in the wine production. It all ends on a high note with a guided tasting of Rathfinny's Sussex wines.
From 10.30am, 1pm and 3pm every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. £25 per person. rathfinnyestate.com
4. Wine & Cheese Tour, Bluebell Vineyard Estates, Uckfield. This working vineyard hosts a two-hour weekend Wine & Cheese Tour where you can join a small group to learn how English sparkling wine is made. You’ll then have a tasting of five Hindleap sparklings, each matched to British cheeses.
£25 per person. 2pm or 2:30pm on Saturdays and occasionally on Sundays at 2pm (call to check). bluebellvineyard.org
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5. Guided vineyard tour at Oastbrook Estate, Robertsbridge. Join this fun, guided two-hour tour of the vines followed by a tasting with a cheese, biscuit and grape platter, which runs on various dates until mid-October. You'll get the skinny on how the vineyard was established, as well as its plans for the future. If you want to take a tipple home with you, head to the shop – the Oastbrook Estate Sparkling Rosé 2014, £38, is sure to put some fizz into your summer.
From £25 per person. oastbrook.com
6. The Ultimate Wine and Food Tasting with Tour, Bolney Wine Estate, Haywards Heath. Gather up your friends and head to this picturesque estate on the edge of the South Downs for this all-bells-and-whistles tour and tasting. The three-and-a-half hour experience starts with a glass of sparkling wine on arrival. Next, you'll set off on a tour of the vines to swot up on the different varieties of grapes that go into making the Bolney range. This is followed by a tutored tasting of five wines with a food matching plate. A two-course seasonal mezze board and dessert is the final flourish.
From £42.50 to £85. The main tour season runs from February to October (some dates available in November, December and January). bolneywineestate.com