Sussex wine region gets Champagne-style status, angers Kent

One Kent winemaker called the designation a ‘joke’

Laura Hampson
Thursday 16 June 2022 10:03 BST

Winemakers in Sussex are celebrating a new designation which will see the region get Champagne-style status, intended to guarantee quality and geographical provenance.

Sussex has been appointed as a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) for wine by the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

However, its neighbours in Kent aren’t so happy about the designation, with one winemaker describing it as a “joke” and a “marketing exercise”.

Graham Barbour, founder and owner of Woodchurch Wine Estate, told the Telegraph: “This is just a marketing exercise based on the political boundaries of a county. It tells you nothing about the geographical features of a particular vineyard or the quality of the wine.”

Barbour added: “Some Kent vineyards share the same geographical features as parts of Sussex so it’s meaningless to lump everything together under one arbitrary county designation.

“The whole idea of a Sussex PDO is a joke, but perhaps I would say that.”

The designation means that wine labels marked with “Sussex” now need to pass a qualitative analysis by an independent tasting panel, as well as an analytical test.

It means the wine should be aged in the bottle for a minimum of 15 months, and will be assessed for aroma, taste, characteristics of the bubbles, and clarity.

Miles Beale, the chief executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, said in a statement: “Not only does the PDO recognise the particular growing conditions found in Sussex, but it also shows the commitment of winemakers in this region to produce high quality still and sparkling wines under strict production criteria.

“The PDO scheme will enhance English wine’s established reputation as a high-quality product to rival the best and boost its vast export potential.”

Tinwood Estate owner Art Tukker, whos vineyard is located in West Sussex, told the Telegraph: “The Sussex PDO will cement the bond between the unique soils and climate of the Sussex countryside with our truly remarkable sparkling wines, giving them a sense of place and purpose on the world stage among Champagne and our other great rivals.”

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in