Sussex wine given Champagne-style status … but not everyone is raising a toast

Graham Barbour, the founder and owner of Woodchurch Wine Estate in Ashford on the Kent/Sussex border, said: “This is just a marketing exercise based on a county’s political boundaries. It says nothing about the geographical characteristics of a particular vineyard or the quality of the wine.

“It’s meaningless”

“Some vineyards in Kent have the same geographic characteristics as parts of Sussex, so lumping it all together under an arbitrary county name makes no sense.”

Mr Barbour said many of his Kent colleagues did not wish to have a PDO for their country based on administrative political boundaries rather than “terroir” or geography.

“The whole idea of ​​a Sussex PDO is a joke, but maybe I would say that,” he added.

Sussex wine producers, however, have raised a glass to the decision, saying the move puts wines from the county’s undulating chalk slopes on a par with those from coveted wine-growing regions such as Burgundy and Champagne, Rioja and Tuscany.

Miles Beale, Managing Director of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, said: “The PDO not only recognizes the special growing conditions in Sussex, but also demonstrates the commitment of winemakers in this region to producing high quality still and sparkling wines under strict production criteria. The PDO program will reinforce English wine’s well-established reputation as a quality product that rivals the best and enhance its huge export potential.”

Mark Driver, co-founder of Rathfinny Wine Estate in Alfriston, East Sussex, said: “We think the Sussex name will become synonymous with quality sparkling and still wine, so if you go to a bar in London, New York, Beijing or Tokyo you will be asked: “Would you like a glass of champagne or a delicious glass of Sussex?” Sussex wine given Champagne-style status … but not everyone is raising a toast

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