MP visits vineyard to celebrate English Wine Week
Arundel & South Downs MP Nick Herbert celebrated English Wine Week with a tour of the vineyards and winery at the Wiston Estate on Friday (4 June).
Wiston Estate wine production is a family owned and run business, and Mr Herbert was a given a tour of the vineyard and winery by Harry Goring, his son Richard and Richard’s wife Kirsty.
With their passion and the skills of champion winemaker Dermot Sugrue, Wiston Estate is producing sparkling wines which have won numerous awards. The wines have received the highest recognition, including being selected for the naming ceremony of the P&O cruise liner Britannia by The Queen last March. Wiston Estate wine was also served to stars of the film industry at the BAFTA Los Angeles Tea Party.
The landscape of the South Downs has been credited for providing the perfect conditions for growing vines, with south facing chalk slopes which are very similar to those in the Champagne regions of France.
The number of wine producers in England has more than doubled in the last decade and there are now nearly 500 vineyards producing more than 6 million bottles of wine a year. English sparkling wines have won 14 international wine trophies, more than any other country. During English Wine Week, Wiston’s own Blanc de Blancs 2010 received a Gold in the Decanter World Wine Awards, which follows on from a recent Gold award in the International Wine Challenge.
The Wiston winery uses a traditional Coquard press which is one of only four outside of France and is unique to the UK. The special press is accredited for the gentle pressing of the grapes which enables them to extract high quality juices. The winemaking process at Wiston uses minimal intervention to produce the finished bottle.
Richard Goring said: “As the growth in interest and plantings of vineyards across the South Downs increases, it is very encouraging to have so much support from our local MP The Rt Hon Nick Herbert. I entirely agree with his view that wine tourism will have a large part to play in the coming years and we are looking forward to working with the South Downs National Park to create a visitor centre at Wiston in the near future. The quality of sparkling wine being produced in this area is world class (as shown by the interest of Champagne houses in buying up land here) and it provides a story of hope at a challenging time for rural economic sustainability.”
Mr Herbert said: “It was great to visit Wiston's vineyard to mark English Wine Week and to learn more about this growing business.
"My Arundel & South Downs constituency has more wine producers than any other in the country, and this is an increasingly important local industry for us.
"The South Downs has the potential to be a leader in wine and local food production, as well as being a beautiful place to visit. It's exciting to see the rapid transformation of English wine to become a popular product that now competes with the best around the world."
1. Photograph – Kirsty Goring, Richard Goring, Nick Herbert MP, and Harry Goring next to the Coquard press at the Wiston Winery.
2. For more information about the Wiston Estate see www.wistonestate.com.
3. For more information about English Wine Week see www.englishwineproducers.co.uk.