Think of expensive, celebratory bubbles and chances are you imagine sun drenched, hilltop vineyards, picturesque chateaux and charming frenchmen with wonderful accents… but think again! A young upstart just around the corner has risen to compete with the Champagne region of France in the large scale production of sparkling wine.
Just outside Alfriston in East Sussex, a 600 acre plot is being cultivated into the largest (and sunniest- if the media is to be believed!) vineyard in the UK. It’s owner, a former hedge fund manager and father of four, Mark Driver wants the land to produce a million bottles of wine here every year. Driver plans to use the space, renamed the Rathfinney Estate, to produce sparkling wines to rival our French cousins, benefitting from advantageously placed hills to shield his crop from the destructive sea salt often flung over this region, being so close to the sea.
The first varieties produced are going to be Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier for sparkling, and he is also planting a couple of varieties for still wine: Riesling and Pinot Gris, with a view of exporting roughly half the bottles produced overseas… all is not lost however as there will still be 500,000 bottles to go around! All the girls at Mulberry Cottages will race you there!
To see exactly why Alfriston is such a perfect place to set up a vineyard or such a wonderful place to visit why not stay with us at Chestnut Cottage, Uckfield? Less than half an hour to Alfriston and in the heart of a charming market town, Chesnut Cottage would be ideal for a week together in the summer or if you can’t wait a springtime getaway! Chestnut Cottage sleeps 4 and is available for a week at prices started from £700. http://www.mulberrycottages.com/cottage/holiday-cottages-in-east-sussex/36780-chestnut-cottage/.