MP visits Upperton Vineyard for English Tourism Weekv
Arundel and South Downs MP Nick Herbert visited Upperton Vineyard on Friday (11 March) to help promote local wine production and English Tourism Week.
The vineyard in Tillington, near Petworth, is set in over 40 acres of rolling countryside in the South Downs National Park.
The owner, Andy Rogers, and his family have developed Upperton from an initial 800 trial vines in 2005 to 32,000 vines today. They produce several award winning sparkling wines using different blends of the varieties they grow.
The vineyard's Aurora Brut 2010 won the Silver Decanter award last year, and their Erubseco 2010 won a Bronze award.
Last summer, Upperton opened the doors to a new shop, conference room and terrace, and the vineyard organises tours and wine tastings for the public.
The number of English wine producers has more than doubled in the last decade and there are almost 500 vineyards throughout the country, many of which welcome visitors.
Mr Herbert recently joined the Environment Secretary, Liz Truss, to mark a roundtable event with representatives from the English wine industry to discuss how they can encourage production.
Nigel Smith, Chief Executive of Tourism South East, said: “In the last 16 years English sparkling wines have won 14 international sparkling wine trophies – no other country in the world has achieved this. Maybe it isn’t so surprising because we are only about 150 miles north of the Champagne region and our vineyards benefit from the same chalky soils around the North and South Downs that are very similar to the earth used to plant grapes for famous names such as Bollinger.
“This quality of wine and the initiatives by many vineyards to open up to visitors for tours, wine tastings, afternoon teas, conferences and other events means that it is one of the boom sectors in tourism. This applies to both domestic and overseas visitors and is certainly changing the perception of Britain as a ‘foodie’ destination.”
Nick Herbert said: “I was delighted to visit Upperton in its beautiful setting and to meet Andy Rogers. The South Downs is a leading area for English wine production and I am proud to have more producers in my constituency than any other.
"The image of English wine has been transformed in recent years and we now produce sparkling wine that competes with leading champagnes. I think there is a huge opportunity to promote the South Downs as an area to visit for tourism, good food and wine."
1. Photograph – Andy Rogers and Nick Herbert at the entrance to Upperton’s visitor centre.
2. To read more about English Tourism Week see www.visitengland.com.
3. For further information about English wine production see the government news release ‘English and Welsh sparkling wines a cork popping success’: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/english-and-welsh-sparkling-wines-a-cork-popping-success.
4. To read Nick’s news calling for more support for the English wine industry see http://nickherbert.com/news.php/691/mp-urges-government-to-back-english-wine.