Sussex vineyards to visit this winter
Sussex Modern Stories | 8 minutes read
As crisp autumnal days give way to cosy winter nights and frosty mornings, the new season brings new experiences, events and occasions to Sussex’s vineyards.
With reasons to visit ranging from seasonal feasts and Christmas markets, to gin making, afternoon tea and live music, discover some of the very best vineyard experiences to enjoy this winter.
Bolney Wine Estate
The beautiful Bolney Estate near Haywards Heath welcomes visitors over the colder months with a packed calendar of events alongside their usual restaurant, winery and shop. There’s autumn yoga, chef’s dining experiences, winter workshops and a heap of festive events in the lead up to Christmas – including late-night shopping events, a Christmas Wine Fayre, and ‘Festive Fridays’, featuring seasonal food and live music every Friday evening in December. Head to Bolney’s website to book.
Rathfinny Wine Estate
This exceptional English sparkling wine estate offers vineyard tours and wine tastings all winter. Guests learn about the extensive vines and world-class sparkling wine production at Rathfinny through a visit to their RIBA nominated Winery and production facility. Tours conclude with a guided tasting of their wines. The estate is also home to a variety of delicious dining options, from their Michelin-recommended Tasting Room restaurant, their Flint Barns Dining Room, serving up modern, seasonal classics, and The Hut, open seven days a week for ‘Hut Toddy’ warming cocktails, a Seven Sisters hot chocolate, cheese toasties and mince pies (and, of course, Sussex Sparkling wines!) – an ideal option for spontaneous visits, whatever the weather. For the full experience, book a luxurious overnight bed and breakfast experience at the Flint Barns B&B or cosy Rathfinny Cottage.
Find winter vineyard tours at Rathfinny Estate.
Ashling Park Estate
This luxurious retreat is a winter wonderland of wine tastings, vineyard tours, exquisite dining and special events. There’s a special winter gift shopping and sampling evening on 1st December, with gifts, stocking fillers and of course a choice of wines for your Christmas table. If you are looking for a cosy winter escape, there are five contemporary lodges with showstopping views across the vineyard – stay on a Thursday night and get a free vineyard tour and tasting for two, plus a bottle of Ashling Park Pinot Noir with dinner by the fireplace. The estate is also home to a Gin School where guests can make their own gin, and runs cocktail making classes on Saturdays
Visit Ashling Park’s website for winter opening times and events.
Set within Wiston Estate’s 6000 acres on the South Downs, Wiston’s Tour & Tasting is fully undercover and will run daily all winter. It offers guests the chance to learn about the vineyards and walk through the winery, taking in the traditional Champagne coquard press, tank and barrel halls before finishing up with a tutored tasting of a selection of award-winning Wiston wines. Wiston’s esteemed restaurant, Chalk, will be serving seasonal menus, with an emphasis on ingredients sourced from the estate and local suppliers. Christmas on the estate is marked by wreath-making workshops, festive brunch menus, and twinkling late-night shopping events, while the newly opened Pump House cottage makes for the cosiest of cosy winter escapes.
Visit Wiston Estate’s website for winter events, tours and tastings.
Artelium Wine Estate
With its winter barn ramping up the cosy over the colder months, this contemporary wine estate buzzes with life all winter long. Vineyard tours and tastings run all year round, while a seasonal menu of hearty food like like baked Sussex cheeses and warming stews & soups makes the perfect compliment to a crisp winter walk in the surrounding countryside. In the run up to Christmas, there’s a Christmas market (Dec 2), festive tastings, wreath making workshop and a Seafood & Sparkling evening in the fairy-lit barn. Find event details and book online at Artelium’s website.
Winter events at Artelium
Set amongst 70 acres of rolling hills and woodlands with far-reaching views along the Tillingham River valley, Tillingham’s programme of special events continues throughout the winter months. Book a winter food, accommodation and wine package to experience the whole Tillingham shebang, or visit for a wine tour, tasting or meal in their farm-to-fork restaurant. Fridays throughout November sees the restaurant taken over by a special guest chef series, while an Xmas Booze Bazaar in the Dutch Barn on Saturday 9 December brings a bunch of local vineyards, brewers and distillers for pre – xmas shopping, munching and mulled cider. More details at Tillingham’s website.
See Tillingham’s website for winter opening times and events
Hidden Spring Vineyard
Situated on a 23 acre small-holding in Horam, in the heart of East Sussex, Hidden Spring Vineyard is home to over 24,000 vines across 13 acres. Its friendly and informal tasting room is open to visitors over the winter on selected days, and offers plenty of cosy indoor seating in which to sample their wonderful wines or to purchase from their cellar door. Dogs are very welcome, and cyclists will find a dedicated area to leave their bikes. Comprehensive tours of the estate are also available, along with a range of private hire packages.
See winter opening times at Hidden Sping’s website.
The idyllic Oastbrook Estate is nestled in the Sussex countryside and home to some of the region’s most picturesque, luxurious and unique accommodation options – from glamping tents to a hobbit style house. Winter at the estate sees a focus on hosting private functions and events, with fine dining and celebratory feasts taking centre stage. Their cellar door is open, with click and collect options available.
Visit Oastbrook Estate’s website
A stone’s throw from the delightful cathedral city of Chichester, West Sussex’s renowned Tinwood Estate is a must-visit for lovers of English sparkling wine. This winter, guests can indulge in Tinwood’s sparkling wine afternoon tea, elevated to new heights with festive flair. Their renowned dinner series takes on a sophisticated seasonal twist and includes spectacular wine pairings. Throughout the winter season, visitors can join daily vineyard tours and tastings in Tinwood’s picturesque tasting room.
Read more about winter events at Tinwood.
Oxney Organic Estate
Serenely located in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty near Rye, this charming, organic wine estate is quietly spearheading quality English organic wine. With two beautiful self-catering cottages available, Oxney’s Saturday tour, (running on selected dates only – check their website for details), invites visitors to explore their vineyard, to learn about winemaking and to get cosy in their winery room and enjoy a tasting platter of their very own charcuterie. On the weekend of December 9-10, there’s an artists and makers market in the cosy tasting room. And if you are looking for a winter escape, there’s a luxurious cottage and converted barns with space for the whole family.
Find out more, including special winter rates and Stay and Tour packages at Oxney’s website
Ridgeview Wine Estate
Enjoy a tour of the vineyard, winery and cellars followed by a tasting of Ridgeview sparkling wines, whilst savouring views across the beautiful South Downs. Their restaurant, The Rows & Vine, is moving indoors to the winery for the winter, where guests can escape the chill and enjoy seasonal tapas-style sharing plates with views over the Chardonnay vineyard. Visit on the 6th December for a special festive event with sparkling wine, roasted chestnuts, carol singing, mulled wine, mince pies and more.
See up to date winter event information at Ridgeview’s website.
In December, the award-winning Albourne Estate, near vibrant Brighton, is hosting two Christmas Wine Tasting Weekends. With an exciting range of bottles open for complimentary tastings, and their expert team on hand, enjoy a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie and indulge in a spot of Christmas shopping, or sample their tasting room menu, including wine flights and wine by the glass alongside local cheese and charcuterie boards. For the rest of the winter months, the beautiful estate is available for exclusive private hire and bespoke tours and events.
See dates and book via Albourne’s website
For one Saturday in December, the beautiful Roebuck Estates near Petworth is opening its cellar door for a special one-off Christmas shopping event. All guests will be offered a complimentary glass of vintage sparkling wine while they shop for wine gift sets and classically crafted vintage sparkling wines, magnums and gift boxes. Visit Roebuckestates.com/events for details.
Bluebell Vineyard Estates
This family-run vineyard and winery produces critically acclaimed vintage wines, made exclusively from grapes grown in a single year, making each of their signature Hindleap and Ashdown Vintages unique. Their winemaking tours and tastings run all winter, and visitors are also invited to wander through their tranquil woodland trail and enjoy the spectacular views of the vineyard and waters from the terraced seating area. If all that exploring works up an appetite, the local area boasts a wealth of warm and welcoming pubs and restaurants.
Visit Bluebell Vineyard’s website
And, if you can’t make it along in person to one of these wonderful winter vineyard destinations, you can visit their online shops. Whether you are looking to stock up for the festive season, select a special bottle for a gift, or discover something new to keep you warm over the cold winter months, you’ll find a world of wine inspiration at your fingertips.
Find our full list of Sussex vineyards and visit their individual websites to get your holiday season orders in.
Words: Zoë Cook
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