Sompting Estate Vineyard
A new, yet ancient enterprise is growing out of the quality of Sompting's beautiful landscape.
We planted our first vineyard by machine in May 2019. This has 8.5 acres of vines in a 10-acre field. It's on a south facing chalky slope of the Sompting Downs, above the ancient Saxon church there. The grape varieties are the champagne classics: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. These grapes will be made into wine by the award-winning Ridgeview Winery at Ditchling.
People sometimes assume vineyards are sterile cropping areas but ours is going to be buzzing with bees butterflies and other wild life, and integrated with the patchwork of the farmed landscape. We have planted mixed native species hedges for windbreaks; we have retained broad grass margins where cowslips and other wildflowers thrive. We have added to our adjacent conservation woodland plantation, so that the vineyard and its hedgerows connect the woodland wildlife on three sides..
We planted our second vineyard by hand in May 2020. This was envisaged as a site where we could invite community participation, but Covid lockdown put paid at least to the first year of that. Due to drought it was a difficult establishment year so we do not expect to harvest a crop until 2024. These grapes are intended for making still wine.
We aim to offer Sompting Estate sparkling wine for sale from 2025. We hope to progress soon after that to offering some still wine not just grown but also made by ourselves.
Enquiries, including for seasonal work opportunities: email Manager Alex Tristram.
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