Regarded as the heartland of UK wine production, the drier and warmer climate of Sussex is home to many inspiring vineyards and wine estates, each developing diverse UK wine styles. Each vineyard offers something a little different, but one thing they all have in common is an incredible wine and a warm welcome. Visit the Sussex vineyards and not only experience a taste of wine for yourself, but the whole process from grape to glass – and the story that sets each winery apart. With chances to try and buy, you won’t be leaving empty-handed. Here are some of our favourite Sussex vineyards, and tours and tastings!
East Sussex vineyards
This award-winning Sussex vineyard and winery create lovely still and sparkling wines, and it is part of an 850-acre organic farming estate that takes a sustainable and natural approach to the work they do. This includes generating their own heat from coppiced wood chips and dealing naturally with disease control.
Tours and tastings: Pop along for a guided tour of the estate where you can hear about the way they make their wine – described as having ‘a very low intervention, natural winemaking ethos’.
Shop: There is a shop where you can buy the award-winning dry and fruity sparkling Classic 2014 and the highly recommended English Pinot Noir Rose 2016, which has hints of summer fruits including strawberry, raspberry and cherry.
Stay nearby: 4 Roberts Row, near Rye - sleeps 2 + 1 dog
This pioneering set of three organic vineyards is nestled in the heart of the beautiful Sussex countryside and is known as the home of biodynamic wine. With over 20 acres of land in the High Weald AONB, it also offers a trail through magical ancient wooded vineyard land which you can explore at your leisure. Established in 1979 and England’s oldest organic, you can learn about the processes used to make biodynamic wine.
Tours and tastings: The friendly, knowledgeable staff will be happy to elaborate on any of the winery’s processes! After your tour, visit the Winery and the Sedlescombe barn tasting bar where you can sample some of the award-winning wines.
Shop and dine: The Vineyard shop offers local crafts, wines, juices and various other local produce to take home with you. Pack a picnic or if you prefer, book a tasty Ploughman’s Lunch or Cream Tea before you go. The wines at Sedlescombe are also suitable for vegetarians and vegans.
Stay nearby: The Oast House, Sedlescombe – sleeps 10
Aptly named, this family-run vineyard is set amidst bluebells woodlands and was transformed from a former pig farm home to thousands of pigs, into the site of over 100,000 vines growing quality Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Merlot to name just a few. Using traditional methods, all of the Bluebell wines are vintage and unique! Awarded over sixty national and international awards, their range of Hindleap sparkling wines are critically acclaimed.
Tours and tastings: Book separate tastings and tours or combine for the ultimate vineyard experience. Once a month the vineyard also hosts a Wine and Cheese tour which matches their sparkling wines to a variety of British cheeses. There is also a self-guided vineyard and woodland trail which also welcomes children and dogs on leads! Tastings: £8.00 / Tour & tasting: £18.00 / Wine & Cheese Tour: £25.00
Stay nearby: Chauffeur’s Cottage, Uckfield – sleeps 6
West Sussex Vineyards
One of the most famous Sussex vineyards, and known around the world and with several awards under their belt, Nyetimber is a creator of delicious and detailed crafted wines in the heart of Sussex. Using traditional methods and fruits grown on the estate, they not only ensure the quality of the ingredients, but they can use the ‘time’ to age the wines and develop complexity and flavour.
Tours and tastings: Look out for open days at the estate where you can experience its history, explore the vines, enjoy tastings in the medieval barn and purchase your favourite at cellar-door prices. It is also possible to book exclusive, private tastings with a Nyetimber brand ambassador – a real special occasion event. An open day ticket costs £35.00.
Dine: Dining experiences with Michael Caines are also held here but tickets sell fast!
Stay nearby: Rose Cottage – Shipley, near Steyning – sleeps 6 + 3 dogs
The last five decades have seen the Bolney Wine estate develop through three generations of its founding family with the daughter of the founders, Sam Linter, heading up the winemaking team. With a unique winemaking style and the experience and passion of its dedicated team, Bolney has set itself apart from its competitors.
Tours and tastings: Book a unique vineyard experience which will take you through the acres of vines with beautiful views over the Sussex countryside. There are a variety of dining experiences on offer too. Kids are welcome to look for Bertie the Bolney bunny on the Vineyard Trail for kids! Tours, with different tasting options, start from £10 per person.
Shop: Pick up a few bottles in the onsite shop to take home with you – pair with gift boxes, vouchers and accessories for thoughtful gifts.
Dine: The Eighteen Acre is open during the day for breakfasts, lunches, snacks and drinks!
Stay nearby: Little Oakwood, Steyning – sleeps 2 + 1 dog
Nestled between Littlehampton and Worthing in the South Downs, Highdown Vineyard benefits from the perfect grape-growing conditions of its south-facing slopes. Every year a variety of still and sparkling wines are made, and owners, Aly and Paul Engfield believe fine wine is made in the vineyard as much as the winery.
Tours and tastings: Learn about site selection, varietal selection and methods used for growing vines in the UK during a group tour rounded off with a talk on English Wines and a tasting and sampling session in the Winery Building. You can add canapes, light lunches and cream teas too! A minimum of 20 people – small groups are possible but will cost slightly more ‘per head’.
Stay nearby: Chenies, Middleton-on-sea, sleeps 16 + 1 dog
With an impressive history that dates back to the 1930s, the Kingscote estate has taken an interesting journey to become the vineyard and venue that it is today, with early connections to the famous horticulturist and father of the English country garden, William Robinson. Today they produce still and sparkling wines and their very own ‘cyder’ using their own grapes and apples.
Tours and tastings: Book on to one of the scheduled tours, which run three times a day, Thursday to Sunday. Choose a simple tour and tasting or enhance the experience with a cream tea or lunch platter. Tours start from £15 per person.
Shop: Pick up a few bottles of your favourite wines from the shop before you leave.
Book a cottage in Sussex
Can’t wait to try for yourself? Book your next holiday in the beautiful Sussex countryside or on the coast and explore one or more of these fabulous Sussex vineyards for yourself.
Heading across the border into Kent? See our guide to vineyards in Kent and cottages to rent nearby!