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The South Downs Wine Story

Across the South Downs National Park, locals and visitors can enjoy some of England’s finest sparkling and white wines produced by award-winning, local vineyards nestled into the stunning landscapes of England’s newest National Park.  

The vineyards owe their success and inspiration to the chalky soils and fine climate providing a unique ‘flavour of the South Downs’.  In fact, grapes have been growing in the area, which is very similar to the Champagne region in France, since Roman times.

For the curious, learn how sparkling wine is made at the Rathfinney Estate, on the sun-soaked south-facing slopes of the South Downs. Tours start at the Gun Room, reputed to have been the Duke of Wellington’s gun room, where you can also visit the visit the Alfriston Heritage Centre.

And if tasting is your passion, head to the tasting room at Ridgeview Vineyard, which has amazing panoramic views over the Downs, and try some of their international award-winning sparkling vintages.

The South Downs Wine Story isn’t just about history and the grower’s expertise though, it’s about enjoying the fantastic end results. Spice up a South Downs picnic with a bottle of sparkling wine to be enjoyed in the sunshine. Many restaurants and pubs across the National Park serve locally produced wine so take the opportunity to try something new wherever you are – a very pleasant surprise awaits you.