Good wine shouldn’t be solely synonymous with destinations like Argentina, Italy, and New Zealand. England boasts some of the most beautiful wine worth celebrating. In fact, English Wine Week is just around the corner, timing serendipitously with the lifting of restrictions and onset of sunnier weather, which means it’s the perfect time to explore Brighton’s brilliant independent bottle shops, bars and restaurants, and discover amazing English wines. Brighton is also surrounded by some of the best wine producers in the country too, so there are plenty of vineyards and producers you should visit this summer.
To make the most of this year’s English Wine Week, here’s our pick of must-visit spots in and around Brighton.
ARTELIUM WINE ESTATE
New on the Sussex wine scene, Artelium was started by a husband and wife team that quit their jobs to open a boutique winery. What began as a passion project has transformed into a vineyard with 85,000 vines to be pruned and harvested. Artelium’s mission is to celebrate wine, art, and nature by producing wines with an array of organic flavours. Recently, Artelium debuted two sparkling vintages ideal for a summer day spent on the coastline.
Artelium Wine Estate hosts 90-minute guided tours and tastings. Each tour includes a brief history of English wine and how the industry is blossoming. Tours are available Thursday through Saturday and cost £20 per person. You can book online or by phone.
Address | Malthouse Farm Barns, Streat Lane BN6 8SA
Call to book | 01273 569 155
(image: © Artelium Wine Estate)
Most people either love or hate sparkling wine. But, one trip to Ridgeview in its idyllic setting could promptly make you a fan. Since 1994, the Roberts family have received multiple international awards and accolades for their spectacular sparkling wines, a true testament to the quality of their product.
Ridgeview welcomes visitors for tours and tastings all year long. Its stunning South Downs National Park setting is just one of the many reasons you’ll want to book a tour of this exquisite vineyard.
Address | Ditchling Common, Fragbarrow Lane BN6 8TP
Call to book | 01444 242 040
(image: © Ridgeview)
RATHFINNY WINE ESTATE
This summer is the perfect time to stop by Rathfinny Wine Estate, whether to dine, taste, or tour their vineyard. Located within their winery is a Michelin Plate restaurant with modern takes on British cuisine that is almost too gorgeous to eat.
Stop in for lunch in their tasting room and do not leave until you’ve tried the English strawberry gelato paired with one of their many famed sparkling wines. If you drink too much, don’t worry! You can book a stay at Flint Barns, the winery’s quaint on-site accommodation.
Address | Rathfinny Wine Estate, Alfriston BN26 5TU
Call to book | 01323 871 031
(image: © Rathfinny Wine Estate)
BLUEBELL VINEYARD ESTATES
Near the famous Bluebell Steam Railway, right on the edge of the Ashdown Forest, sits Bluebell Vineyard Estates. Home to a number of award-winning wines, Bluebell is a family-owned business that prides itself on being the only vineyard in the UK currently that produces wine with the Merlot and Chasselas grape varieties.
Bluebell Vineyard, established in 2005, features woodland trails swathed with its namesake flowers for visitors to stroll along after visiting the estates’ Tasting Room. Wine enthusiasts can book one of Bluebell’s ‘grapes to glass’ tour and tasting experience. This lasts approximately 90 minutes and costs £18 per person. Included in the costs is tasting five of the vineyard's current releases, a tour of both the vineyard and winery, and deeper insight into the wine making process.
Address | Glenmore Farm, Slider’s Ln, Furner’s Green, Uckfield TN22 3RU
Call to book | 01825 791 561
(image: © Bluebell Vineyard Estate)
Bolney is another vineyard that sits on the edge of South Downs National Park. Bolney welcomes you into its state-of-the-art tasting room and keeps you hooked with every sip of wine produced on the 39-acre winery. It has an outstanding reputation for its full-bodied reds and its commitment to the sustainability of all of their wine production.
You can book a tasting, tour, or a table for lunch by phone. We highly recommend their ‘Ultimate Wine and Food Tasting with Tour’, which includes a locally-sourced meal consisting of shareable, small plates. You won’t be sorry you stopped by. Not local? They also offer their classic wine tastings online.
Address | Foxhole Ln, Bolney, Haywards Heath RH17 5NB
Call to book | 01444 881 575
(image: © Bolney Estate)
TEN GREEN BOTTLES
Ten Green Bottles was an idea sparked by Simon Broad and Sam Devaney’s shared passion for wine. The concept was simple: open a wine bar in the UK that mirrored their love for the wine bars they’d visited in Italy. It needed to be a cosy space that felt friendly and left customers walking away with a deeper understanding of the art of wine without the pretence.
Ten Green Bottles is reopening from 17th May with new socially-distanced seating, weekend wine masterclasses, and private wine tastings-- in perfect time for English Wine Week. For those feeling extra cautious, Ten Green Bottles also has outdoor seating available. Grab a sparkling glass of British Blanc de Blanc from nearby Ridgeview and enjoy one of Ten Green’s high-quality cheese and charcuterie boards.
Address | 9 Jubilee St, Brighton BN1 1GE
Call to book | 01273 567 176
(image: © Ten Green Bottles)
BRIGHTON WINE CO.
If you’re keen to get a bottle delivered to enjoy in the comforts of your own home, Brighton Wine Co. has you covered. The owner, Chris, attributes his love and knowledge of wine to his early start (his uncle had him try a sip when he was only 5-years-old). His passion shows in the (online-only) selection of wines Brighton Wine Co. offers for delivery to customers.
Brighton Wine Co. has no brick-and-mortar location, but it offers online wine tastings for those looking to learn a little more about what they’re drinking and has an exclusive wine Case Club that offers member discounts and special events.
Call for more info | 07884 265 684
Email orders | email@example.com
QUAFF FINE WINE MERCHANT
While Quaff has shelves stocked full of beer, sake, and champagne, it's their English wines and knowledgeable staff that keep Hove locals coming back time and time again.
Wine connoisseurs in Hove can score bottles made in limited quantities here, like the Bolney Estate 2020 Chardonnay. Any time you walk into Quaff, you’re greeted like an old friend by someone eager to help you select a wine most suitable to your taste.
Address | 139 Portland Rd, Hove BN3 5QJ
FOURTH AND CHURCH
As one of Brighton and Hove’s favourite restaurants and wine shops, no Wine Week rundown would be complete without mention of Fourth and Church. This wine shop is the perfect combination of modern bar and traditional deli.
Fourth and Church strive to support independent winemakers across the UK (and Europe) by curating pairings of outstanding wines and delicious food. It’s intimate interior creates a cosy atmosphere for wining and tapas-style dining.We recommend trying the Cuvee Gerard Hoffnung from Sussex’s own Breaky Bottom Winery.
Address | 84 Church Road, Hove, BN3 2EB
Call to book | 01273 724 709
(image: © Fourth and Church)
GREAT BRITISH WINE TOURS
As an alternative or in addition to creating your own wine week tasting itinerary, why not book a vineyard tour with Great British Wine Tours? Great British Wine Tours really showcase the breadth of the English wine industry, by introducing patrons to the many Sussex vineyards that exist and highlighting the best wines from each stop on the tour.
If you book a tour, you’ll be transported out into the countryside in a classic, red doubledecker bus. For the duration of your tour, you’ll be accompanied by a wine expert who is sure to fill your day with equal parts information and entertainment. Tickets for tours cost £97 per person.
Address | 3 Belmont, Brighton BN1 3TF
Call to book | 01273 278 474
(image: © Great British Wine Tours)
Author: Tara Tadlock (guest writer)