Nick Herbert visits Nyetimber vineyard

Arundel & South Downs MP Nick Herbert was in West Chiltington on Thursday morning (20 August) to visit one of the country’s top wine producers.

The Shadow Environment Secretary was at the Nyetimber estate to meet owner and chief executive Eric Heerema.

Mr Heerema explained how the business has developed since he took over in 2006 and talked about the firm's plans to open a new winery and distribution facility on Chichester College's Brinsbury Campus near Pulborough.

During the visit, Mr Herbert was given a tour of Nyetimber's existing winery by winemaker Cherie Spriggs.  The MP was also shown around some of the vineyards by Paul Woodrow-Hill who joined the company in 2006 and has been involved in the wine industry for 22 years.

The first vines were planted at Nyetimber in 1988 by Stuart and Sandy Moss who started out with a 35-acre estate.  Since then, the company has expanded and now operates from a 350-acre estate on land at West Chiltington, Bignor, Tillington and Upperton.  They have also purchased land across the county border in Hampshire.

Experts say that the soil in West Sussex together with its relatively sunny climate makes it an ideal area in which to produce sparkling wine, with conditions similar to those in the champagne region of northern France.

Nyetimber has won acclaim around the world for its English sparkling wines and, in the 2009 International Wine and Spirit Competition, won the Gold (Best in Class) award for its 1992 Blanc de Blancs.  In 2008 Nyetimber was UK Wine Producer of the Year.

Nyetimber's wines have been served at a number of prestigious events including the recent G20 Summit in London.  They have also been served by The Queen at Buckingham Palace.

Last month, Nick Herbert served 1998 Nyetimber Premiere Cuvee at a reception in London to launch his ‘Future Countryside' initiative, explaining to guests that the wine was the perfect symbol of how climate change was changing land use in the UK.

Eric Heerema commented: "We were delighted to receive a visit from Nick Herbert to Nyetimber last week and very pleased to be able to show him round just some of the beautifully kept vineyards that are gradually becoming a more common sight throughout Sussex.  Nyetimber now has the largest area under vine in the UK at 350 acres and as the leading producer of quality sparkling wine, is on course to become one of the most significant business enterprises to be developed in West Sussex for many years."

Nick Herbert commented: "It was a fascinating visit and I'm very grateful to Eric Heerema and his team at Nyetimber for taking the time to show me around the vineyards and winery.  I'm very proud that the Arundel & South Downs constituency is home to a number of successful English wine producers.  It's a tribute to Nyetimber that they can compete with long-established producers in France and Spain, and I can enthusiastically recommend their sparkling wine as a fine alternative to champagne."



Notes for Editors

1. For the website of Nyetimber Limited, visit

2. The photograph shows Nick Herbert (right) on a tour of the vineyards with vineyard manager Paul Woodrow-Hill.

Christopher N Howarth