MP celebrates English Wine Week at Stopham vineyard
Arundel & South Downs MP Nick Herbert celebrated English Wine Week with a visit to Stopham Estate Vineyard on Thursday (23 May).
Mr Herbert met winemaker Simon Woodhead at the vineyard near Pulborough. The MP first visited the vineyard in 2012, shortly after The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebration at which Stopham Estate wine was served aboard the Royal Barge.
Simon gave the MP a tour of the vineyard which overlooks the Arun Valley. The sandy soil, southern facing slopes, and low altitude support the production of Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Auxerrois and Bacchus grape varieties. The South Downs ‘terroir’ is the reason so many vineyards have been established in the area.
Simon revealed plans to open a tasting room and dining room next to the vineyard’s winery. Work is due to start on converting the Victorian farm buildings into a unique venue where visitors will have the opportunity to taste and purchase wine from the ‘cellar door’. The tasting rooms will be open early next summer.
Last month, Stopham Vineyard won a trophy for ‘Best Still Wine’ for their Pinot Gris 2017 at the Independent English Wine Awards (IEWA), the second year they have won in this category.
2018 has been regarded by English winemakers as one of the best vintages on record, with near perfect conditions and yields which exceeded expectations. 2019 is already shaping up to be another successful one.
Sussex is now a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) for both still and sparkling wines. A PDO is an official EU designation for quality products linked to a specific geographical area. The expectation is that Sussex will become synonymous with high quality wine and be recognised in the same way as Champagne.
Simon Woodhead said: “It was great to show Nick around the vineyard on such a beautiful day.”
Mr Herbert, whose Arundel & South Downs constituency has more wine producers than any other, said: “It was wonderful to return to Stopham Vineyard on such a beautiful day and to hear about their exciting plans. I am very proud to represent this and so many other great wine producers. English Wine Week is a really good way to promote them all.”
1. Photograph – Nick with Simon Woodhead at Stopham Estate Vineyard.
2. English Wine Week 2019 runs from Saturday 25 May to Sunday 2 June. For more information see https://www.winegb.co.uk/industry/celebrate-english-wine-week/.
3. For more information about Stopham Estate vineyard see www.stophamvineyard.co.uk.