Sompting Estate Vineyard
A new, yet ancient enterprise is growing out of the quality of Sompting's beautiful landscape.
We planted our first vineyard, the Mountain 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, some more varied grape varieties on a small site near our Estate Office. 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.
Our third vineyard, the Bostal Vineyard, was planted on approx 10 acres of former arable field in May 2023, with disease resistant PiWi varieties. From 2023 we have begun the journey to be an organic or biodynamic vineyard.
We will be offering our first Sompting Estate sparkling and still wines, six wines made with natural method in a small temporary winery in a bay of our grainstore, for sale from summer 2023.
Enquiries, including for seasonal work opportunities: email General Manager Alex Tristram.