Wine tasting is one of my favourite things to do when I’m exploring Sussex. My most recent tasting trip was to the Bluebell Estate Vineyard during this fun weekend away. Wine tasting in Sussex makes a great day trip from Brighton or London, and is the perfect reason to head for the hills and escape the summer city crowds.
So, with your weekends away in mind readers, I’ve put together a guide to smaller, lesser-known vineyards within 10 kilometres of Brighton, for you to explore on your next trip to the seaside. Kick back, pour yourself a glass of something chilled and join me for a little winery hopping tour of Sussex!
A guide to Wineries near Brighton
Sussex has the largest cluster of vineyards in the UK of over 30 wine producers which make some of the best sparkling wine in the world. You can’t go wrong with the big names – Ridgeview, Bolney and Rathfinney to name a few – but these places get crowded in summer. So today I’m sharing my guide to smaller, lesser-known boutique vineyards and wineries in East and West Sussex for more exclusive experience.
Bluebell Vineyard stole my heart last summer when I visited during this fun weekend away glamping. Tastings involve trying five wines of your choice. If you’re not in the mood for wine, you’re welcome to have a wander around the place, or follow a trail around the wines and woodland, alongside the owners’ two soppy golden Labradors if you’re lucky. Find it at Glenmore Farm, Sliders Lane, Furners Green, East Sussex TN22 3RU
Beacon Down Vineyard is set at the foot of a slope with beautiful South Downs views. It’s open for tours and tastings, or a place for a picnic, which they can supply, or you’re welcome to bring your own. Find it at Browns Lane, Cross-in-Hand, Heathfield, East Sussex TN21 0QJ
Black Dog Hill is run by three-generations of the same family and is named after a ghostly black dog which legend says roams the area bearing the souls of the departed to their resting place in the next world. They don’t offer tours, instead they’ve a stylish little wine shop in the nearby village of Ditchling, where they host tastings of their award-winning sparkling wines. Find it at 17–19 High Street, Ditchling, Hassocks, East Sussex BN6 8SY
Court Gardens Farm is another family-run winery and they’re not far from Black Dog Hill. They offer tours as well as three tasting sessions: sparkling wines; wines and cheese; or the English sparkling wine, Prosecco and Champagne taste off. They also host pop-up opera nights in their barn in summer. Find it at Orchard Lane, Ditchling, East Sussex BN6 8TH
Wildwood Vineyard is named after a nearby ancient wild woodland. They do private group tours which include sampling a glass or two in the vineyard. You can also adopt one of their vines or join the harvest which takes place over three separate weekends in October. Find it at Eridge Road, Eridge, East Sussex TN3 9EQ
Kinsbrook Vineyard is a new boutique vineyard which hosts tours twice a week and occasional supper clubs. There’s a vineyard trail to follow and a little cafe in an old horse box for drinks and snacks, including Kinsbrook wines and little plates for pairing. They also have plans to open accommodation on the site. Find it at Picketty Corner, West Chiltington Lane, West Chiltington, West Sussex RH20 2LT
Redfold Vineyards is where Ambriel sparkling wines are produced. They offer private tours and tastings arranged by appointment. Tours include a walk around the vines – which surround a wildlife corridor – that are grazed by the owner’s golden Guernsey goats and flock of ouessants, the smallest sheep in the world, in winter. Find it at Nutbourne Lane, Nutbourne, West Sussex RH20 2HS
Trotton Estate Vineyard is set on fields once home to the owners’ now retired polo ponies, some of them you might still see wandering around. Tours are casual, fun and informative and introduce you to the estate wines which you taste as you walk around. Tours run every Saturday from May to September. Special dates can be arranged on request. Find it at Gatehouse Lane, Trotton, Petersfield, West Sussex GU31 5DA
Upperton offers private tours for groups of 10 or more which end with a tasting session in either the terrace bar with epic South Downs views, or the shop. Tours take place on Tuesday to Thursday at any time; Friday and Saturday at 5.30pm. Find it at Upperton Farm, Tillington, Petworth, West Sussex GU28 0RD