THE BOLNEY ESTATE

West Sussex

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Hidden in the heart of rural Sussex, one of Britain’s most beautiful southern counties, lies Bolney Wine Estate, a vineyard which carries on the tradition brought to Britain by the Romans nearly 2,000 years ago. This esteemed property is situated on a hill which was part of the Butting Hill One Hundred, listed in the Domesday Book in 1086, as the first official land survey of what is now the United Kingdom.
 
Village tradition has it that the Prince Regent was a frequent visitor to Bolney when travelling to Brighton, staying at Bolney Lodge of which Bolney Wine Estate formed a part in the 18th Century.
 
This established star of the English wine scene saw its first three acres of commercial vineyard planted by owners Janet and Rodney Pratt back in 1972 as it was then known as 'Booker's Vineyard'. Since their daughter Samantha Linter took over as winemaker in 1990, Bolney has gone from strength to strength, expanding to 39 acres of vineyard and forging a reputation for impeccable quality, not just in sparkling wines but still expressions too, with Pinot Noir proving a particular strength.
 
The vineyard is located on the edge of the South Downs, about 14 miles from the UK’s south coast, and comprises five unique vineyard sites at around 118ft above sea level. The vines here are between two and twelve years old and are planted at a density of 2,470 vines/ha.
 
The vines are trained using both Vertical Shoot Positioning (Foxhole Vineyard) and the Sylvos trellis system (18 Acre Field), both of which help to maximize airflow and sunlight penetration to the vines. Extensive canopy management is carried out throughout the season to ensure the ideal microclimate that leads to high-quality fruit.
 
Much may be made of the chalky parallels between Champagne and many of England’s top vineyard sites, but Bolney shows off the merits of its free draining, heat retentive Upper Tunbridge Wells Sand consisting of sandy loam, siltstone and clay over sandstone bedrock on the Sussex South Downs.
 
Mean average temperatures across the growing season (April to September) are in the range of 53°F–60°F, though daytime summer temperatures are often in the mid-70°Fs. The proximity of the Estate to the South Downs, combined with the low altitude and surrounding woodland, helps to shelter the Estate from the prevailing southwesterly winds.
 
In 2012, Bolney Wine Estate won UK Wine Producer of the Year in the International Wine and Spirit Competition.



THE BOLNEY ESTATE
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