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Exploring the Sussex PDO: Celebrate Sussex Sparkling Wine

English sparkling wine has been making waves on the global stage. The Sussex Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status granted in 2022 marks a significant milestone in this journey.

This recognition, a testament to the region’s unique terroir and stringent production standards, positions Sussex as a premier destination for high-quality sparkling wine. To celebrate English Wine Week (June 15th – 23rd), let’s delve into what this PDO status means for Sussex and why it matters for us at Tinwood, and wine enthusiasts worldwide.

Understanding PDO Status

Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) is a prestigious certification in food and drink. It defines a product possesses qualities or characteristics inherent to its geographical location. This status ensures that all production, processing, and preparation stages take place in a specific region and adhere to strict regulations. For Sussex, achieving PDO status for its sparkling wines affirms that the region’s climate, soil, and craftsmanship are integral to the final product’s excellence.

It means that, in the same way we ask for a glass of Rioja or Champagne, we would now order a glass of Sussex! It doesn’t quite have the same ring to it yet…. But this certificate will hopefully mean that we will use the term Sussex Sparkling much more.

The Journey to ‘Sussex Sparkling’ Recognition

Sussex’s journey to PDO status began years before the official recognition in 2022. The region has long been known for its favorable conditions for viticulture, thanks to its chalky soils and cool climate. These elements contribute to the distinctive freshness, complexity, and elegance of Sussex sparkling wines. Tinwood Estate is ideally situated at the foot of the South Downs, and only three miles from the sea. The estate therefore takes advantage of these beneficial climate conditions from every direction,

Sussex Sparkling is now winning in blind tastings, arguably better than some Champagnes.

Criteria for Sussex Sparkling Wine

To bear the Sussex PDO label, sparkling wines must meet specific criteria that ensure quality and authenticity:

  1. Geographical Boundaries: Grapes must be grown within designated areas of Sussex. 100% of Tinwood’s grapes are grown on the estate which is in Halnaker, North Chichester.
  2. Grape Varieties: Approved grape varieties include Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier, echoing the classic Champagne blend. Tinwood Estate grows 50% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Noir, and 20% Pinot Meunier.
  3. Viticultural Practices: Sustainable and environmentally friendly practices are encouraged, maintaining the health of the soil and ecosystem. Tinwood Estate is home to deer, birds of prey, we have our bee hives, and we plant wildflowers down every other row of vines to encourage the ecosystem here at Tinwood.
  4. Production Methods: Traditional method (méthode traditionnelle) must be used, involving secondary fermentation in the bottle to create the signature bubbles.

The Impact on Sussex Wineries

For Sussex wineries and vineyards such as Tinwood, PDO status brings not only prestige but also economic benefits. This recognition means we have found many tourists visiting the area to taste Sussex Sparkling wine. Customers from all over the world are drawn to the area, experiencing Sussex vineyards and tasting rooms firsthand.

Toast to the Future

The Sussex PDO designation is more than just a label; it’s a celebration of the dedication and passion of local winemakers. It acknowledges Sussex’s commitment to producing sparkling wines of exceptional quality that express the unique character of their terroir.

For wine enthusiasts, the Sussex PDO offers an exciting opportunity to explore a new frontier in sparkling wine. Whether you’re a seasoned connoisseur or a curious newcomer, a bottle of Sussex sparkling wine promises a taste of excellence and a glimpse into the vibrant future of English winemaking.

Celebrate English Wine Week, and this new PDO status with us by purchasing a bottle of Sussex Sparkling wine from Tinwood Estate. Or, discover more about our story via a Vineyard Tour and Wine Tasting.

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