You’ll know from previous posts that Chris and I love fizzy wine so I was thrilled when my mum got us a tour to Ridgeview for my 30th birthday.
A lovely family run vineyard near Burgess Hill, it’s a superb day trip from London. Trains run from Victoria or London Bridge (we jumped on at Clapham Junction) and you’re at Rigeview in less that one hour (£6 taxi from outside the station) – perfect! I was a little disappointed to be visiting in November as I didn’t think the vineyard would be ‘alive’, but it wasn’t a problem.
The vineyard is still family run and was set up just over 20 years ago by a retired couple. It’s now at the forefront of english sparkling wines and even produces and bottles sparkling wines for M&S, Waitrose and Laithwaites. It’s still very much a small family run operation despite the success of the vineyard which I think it is wonderful 🙂
Ridgeview don’t have ‘tour guides’ as such and all tours are given by employees of the Ridgeview family. Our tour guide was the PA to the CEO (her name escapes me:/) but her enthusiasm and passion for the wines was evident. This was by far the best wine tour we’ve been on!
The tour starts outside at the vines and learning about the ‘life of a grape’. I was fascinated to find out that the soil and growing conditions at Ridegview (and nearby Nyetimber and other Sussex vineyards) is more or less the same as the champagne region, which is only 80 miles south! Learning about the grapes was fascinating and how much goes into keeping those little guys alive! We weren’t able to go into the cellar due to the high levels of carbon dioxide due to the stage of the wine making process. Next we were into the bottling area and seeing the vast process involved with getting not only the wine in the bottle, but to ensure if maintains it’s fizz levels as well as getting the cork in and label on!
The final part was the bit that everyone was waiting for….the tasting! The tasting room was a little on the warm side with everyone in it. However the wine and water kept coming so not a problem! We got to sample the Blanc de Blancs, Blanc de Noirs and Rose de Noirs which were incredible. We loved them all but went home with a bottle of Blanc de Noirs which we’ll be having on Christmas Day 🙂
We finished the day off with a cracking roast at The Bull in Ditchling!
As always, this is just my opinion!