Restaurants Brighton guide to

Sussex Wine

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Exploring Vineyards, Tasting Tours, where to stay and Beyond 

Embark on a journey through the captivating history of Sussex wine, where ancient traditions intertwine with modern winemaking techniques. Meet the passionate and skilled makers who have transformed Sussex into a renowned wine region with over 138 Sussex vineyards to choose from.

Discover the lush vineyards that have garnered prestigious awards, their fertile soils nurturing exceptional grapes that yield remarkable vintages. Immerse yourself and stay in the picturesque landscapes, savouring the fruits of labor from award-winning Sussex vineyards that are voted the best in the UK. Explore the unique flavours and aromas that grace each Sussex glass of wine, and delight in the stories of dedication and innovation that have made Sussex wine a standout in the world of viticulture.


The Sussex Wine Story

The story of Sussex wine is one of passion, dedication, and a deep connection to the land. With a history dating back centuries, Sussex has evolved into a thriving wine region renowned for its quality and innovation. From the chalky soils of the South Downs to the sunny slopes of the High Weald, vineyards have flourished, producing award-winning wines that rival some of the best in the world. Meet the visionary winemakers who have embraced the unique terroir of Sussex, combining traditional techniques with modern expertise. Discover the secrets behind their success and taste the exquisite flavours that have put Sussex on the global wine map.

Meet the sussex winemakers

Meeting the winemakers of Sussex wines is a captivating experience that offers a unique insight into the artistry and passion behind each bottle. From picturesque vineyards to state-of-the-art cellars, these encounters provide an intimate connection with the winemaking process. Engaging with skilled vintners reveals the dedication they pour into nurturing every grape, mastering the delicate balance of tradition and innovation. They eagerly share stories of the land, the vines, and the challenges and triumphs of each harvest. Tasting their handcrafted wines accompanied by the stories and knowledge of the winemakers creates an unforgettable journey that deepens one’s appreciation for Sussex’s exceptional wines.

Sussex Vineyards

Sussex vineyards have undergone a remarkable evolution, transforming the region into a prominent player in the world of winemaking. From humble beginnings, pioneering vintners recognised the potential of Sussex’s unique terroir, characterised by chalky soils and a maritime climate. Through years of experimentation and innovation, the local wine industry has flourished, producing exceptional still and sparkling wines that rival those from more established wine regions. Today, Sussex vineyards proudly boast award-winning vintages, with a strong focus on sustainability and organic practices. The evolution of Sussex wine continues to impress, earning the region a well-deserved reputation for producing top-quality wines admired by enthusiasts worldwide.

Sussex Wine Tasting and wine Tours

Sussex wine tasting and wine tasting tours offer a delightful adventure for wine enthusiasts and curious explorers alike. Embarking on a tour through the lush vineyards of Sussex provides a unique opportunity to sample a collection of exquisite wines, each with its own distinct character and terroir. Led by knowledgeable guides or winemakers themselves, these tours take you behind the scenes, offering insights into the winemaking process and the region’s rich viticultural history. From crisp sparkling wines to elegant reds, every sip tells a story of dedication and craftsmanship. Sussex wine tasting tours promise an unforgettable and palate-pleasing experience for all and in many cases a ‘Picture Book Day‘.

Stay and Dine at a sussex vineyard

Indulge in a unique stay and dine experience at the enchanting Sussex vineyards, offering a delightful blend of exquisite wine, luxurious accommodations, and delectable vineyard restaurants. Immerse yourself in the rich heritage of wine-making with guided wine tasting tours, where you’ll savour the finest vintages crafted with passion and skill. Experience the breathtaking scenery and peaceful ambiance of the vineyards while staying in charming on-site accommodations, from cosy cottages to elegant 19th century, Italian style manor houses. Treat yourself to gourmet meals at the vineyard restaurants, featuring locally sourced produce paired with their award-winning wines. Embark on an unforgettable journey and explore the diverse allure of Sussex’s renowned wine destinations.

events at sussex vineyards

Sussex vineyards host a vibrant selection of wine events throughout the year, attracting wine enthusiasts and connoisseurs alike. From seasonal wine festivals to harvest celebrations, there’s always something special happening. Enjoy guided vineyard tours and tasting sessions, where you can learn about the art of winemaking from the experts themselves. Experience exclusive wine-pairing dinners and indulge in gourmet cuisine expertly matched with the finest local wines. Don’t miss the chance to participate in grape-picking events during harvest season, immersing yourself in the vineyard’s winemaking process. These exciting and educational events offer a unique opportunity to savour the essence of Sussex’s thriving wine culture.

Sussex Grape varieties

In Sussex vineyards, a diverse range of grape varieties is cultivated, reflecting the region’s unique climate and soil conditions. Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier are prominent among the grapes used for traditional method sparkling wines, celebrated for their elegance and finesse. Bacchus, a white grape, thrives in the cooler climate and produces aromatic and crisp still wines. For red wines, Dornfelder, Rondo, and Regent are popular choices, offering rich flavours and excellent structure. Additionally, some vineyards experiment with lesser-known grape varieties, exploring the full potential of Sussex’s terroir and contributing to the region’s growing reputation for producing exceptional wines.

In Sussex vineyards, a diverse range of grape varieties is cultivated, reflecting the region's unique climate and soil conditions. Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier are prominent among the grapes used for traditional method sparkling wines, celebrated for their elegance and finesse. Bacchus, a white grape, thrives in the cooler climate and produces aromatic and crisp still wines. For red wines, Dornfelder, Rondo, and Regent are popular choices, offering rich flavors and excellent structure. Additionally, some vineyards experiment with lesser-known grape varieties, exploring the full potential of Sussex's terroir and contributing to the region's growing reputation for producing exceptional wines.
Sussex vineyard tour. Pictured a group of people relaxing in Sussex with the backdrop of a Sussex wine estate. Lush green vineyards, the home of Sussex wine and Sussex sparkling wine.

Championing Sussex wine alongside sussex Produce 

At Brighton and nearby Sussex restaurants, we take great pride in our locally sourced Sussex wines and the vineyards that produce them. Knowing that these wines have a low carbon footprint and are readily available to us fills us with immense satisfaction. Embark on a delightful wine journey, celebrating the finest of Sussex produce. Enhance your experience by exploring other makers of Sussex delights, from farm shops to restaurants. Let your taste buds and senses revel in the rich diversity of our region’s culinary offerings, supporting local Sussex businesses and savouring the true essence of Sussex. Cheers to a delectable adventure!

Noteworthy Wine lists 

Sussex boasts a strong collection of noteworthy wine lists, showcasing the region’s exceptional wines alongside global selections. Many restaurants and wine bars in Brighton and Hove feature local Sussex wines, celebrating the unique terroir and craftsmanship of the region. Some venues, such as Fourth and Church and Cases Wine Bar in Hove, curate award-winning wine lists with an extensive range of global vintages. These establishments pride themselves on providing a diverse selection that caters to every palate, from connoisseurs to casual wine enthusiasts. With a rich variety of reds, whites, rosés, and sparkling wines, Sussex’s wine lists offer a delightful journey of flavours and experiences. Here are the venues in Brighton and Sussex offering the best wine lists in the BRAVO awards

Fourth and Church celebrate the win for best wine list in Brighton in 2024 and they are highly placed in the top 20 best restaurants in Brighton. Wine Tasting Brighton Services. Here you can see Anna, Paul and the team gearing up for one of their Brighton wine tasting events. The backdrop is a wall of wine, displaying their shop front located on Church Road in Hove. Fourth and Church also have noteworthy wine lists. Fourth and Church won the BRAVO 2023 best wine list in Brighton. FEATURED 12TH AMONG THE BEST RESTAURANTS IN BRIGHTON in 2023.
Ridgeview - English Sparkling Wines

English Sparkling Wines

Sussex has made a significant mark in the world of sparkling wines, earning recognition for its exceptional quality and craftsmanship. The region’s cool climate and chalky soils mirror the conditions of Champagne, creating a perfect environment for producing sparkling wines. Among the top winemakers, Rathfinny, Ridgeview, Nyetimber, and Bolney Wine Estate stand out. Ridgeview has gained international acclaim for its sparkling wines, while Nyetimber has been pivotal in establishing England as a producer of world-class sparkling wine. Rathfinny’s dedication to sustainable viticulture has also led to outstanding sparkling offerings, making Sussex a global contender in the sparkling wine arena with B Corp status which balances purpose alongside profit. 

Rathfinny - The Tasting Room

When to visit the Sussex wine region

Visiting Sussex vineyards throughout the seasons promises a diverse and enchanting experience. In spring, witness the awakening of the vines as they bud and blossom, creating a picturesque sight across the vineyards. Summer brings lush greenery and warm weather, ideal for leisurely wine tastings in sun-kissed vineyard settings. As autumn arrives, witness the captivating transformation of vine leaves to stunning hues of red, orange, and gold, creating a mesmerizing backdrop for wine tours. Finally, in winter, enjoy cozy cellar tastings and discover the magic of bold red wines and festive sparkling varieties. Each season offers a unique charm, making every visit to Sussex vineyards a memorable adventure. Combine your visit with a stay and dine option at these Sussex vineyards.

discover sussex cuisine

Welcome to a culinary journey that celebrates the rich flavours of Sussex and its flourishing wine culture. The Sussex restaurants nestled within and around the vineyards offer a remarkable experience where gastronomy and viticulture converge. Indulge in delectable tasting menus or small plate dining crafted from locally-sourced produce, served amidst the stunning landscapes of the vine estates. Discover Michelin-starred venues dotted throughout the scenic countryside, where innovative chefs create masterpieces that complement the region’s exceptional wines. Beyond the vineyards, explore Brighton and Hove’s vibrant restaurant scene, where a tapestry of diverse flavours awaits. Prepare to savour a fusion of exceptional wine and culinary delights on this unforgettable gastronomic adventure in Sussex.

spotlight – Rathfinny, a family owned estate 

The Rathfinny Wine Estate is a picturesque and acclaimed vineyard nestled in the stunning South Downs of Sussex. With over 600 acres of land dedicated to vineyards, it boasts one of England’s largest single estates for sparkling wine production. The estate’s chalky soils and cool climate create the perfect terroir for growing premium grapes, resulting in exceptional sparkling wines. Visitors can take guided tours of the vineyards, learn about the winemaking process, and indulge in tastings of their renowned sparkling wines. The Rathfinny Wine Estate offers a memorable and immersive experience, celebrating the best of English sparkling wine with dining at the Tasting Room and accommodation at their Flint Barns. 

Leonardslee Lake and Gardens

Located within the exquisite beauty of Leonardslee House, their wine estate and ancient gardens offers a captivating journey into viticulture. Discover the art of winemaking through immersive wine tastings, where the unique terroir of Sussex is reflected in every sip. Beyond the vines, the enchanting gardens of Leonardslee create a magical ambiance, perfect for leisurely strolls. For a complete experience, indulge in a stay at their luxurious accommodations, which provide a serene escape amidst the natural splendour. From Michelin star dining at Restaurant Interlude to tranquil garden walks, Leonardslee House offers a harmonious blend of wine, nature, exhibitions and comfort for a truly unforgettable retreat.

Restaurant Interlude at Leonardslee House, a 19th century Italian style manor house

Albourne – Award winning sussex wine

Nestled in the picturesque Sussex countryside, Albourne Wine Estate is a captivating destination for wine enthusiasts. With their wine tasting tours, visitors can explore the vineyards and learn about the meticulous winemaking process. The estate’s story is rooted in passion and dedication to crafting exceptional wines. From English sparkling to still wines, Albourne showcases a diverse range of vintages, each reflecting the unique terroir of the region. The vineyard’s commitment to sustainability and respect for nature shines through in every bottle. For a memorable experience immersed in the beauty of the South Downs, Albourne Wine Estate is a must-visit destination.

Mannings Heath – luxury, relaxation and adventure

Mannings Heath Wine Estate is a captivating destination nestled in the heart of Sussex countryside. This picturesque estate spans over 500 acres and boasts thriving vineyards, producing high-quality grapes for their exceptional wines. Wine enthusiasts can indulge in guided wine tasting tours, immersing themselves in the art of winemaking while enjoying the stunning vistas of rolling hills. For those seeking a complete experience, the estate offers charming accommodation options with comfortable lodges and cottages, providing the perfect setting for a relaxing countryside getaway. Mannings Heath Wine Estate promises a memorable escape, combining the delights of wine, nature, and exquisite accommodation.

The Secret Vineyard – Explore the ancient woodland

The Secret Vineyard is set in the village of Herstmonceux on ancient woodland and Lime Cross Nursery – which is renowned for its rich history in conifers. Founded by sisters Helen and Vicky Tate, with Helen’s wine background, having studied at Plumpton College, and Vicky’s horticulture knowledge and experience, together they were able to begin The Secret Vineyard. Offering wine retreats, tastings, tours and food pop-ups – there’s plenty to get involved in. You can also stay in one of their three accommodations featuring the award winning ÖÖD House, country cottage and eco shepherd’s hut.