Tours and tastings at internationally acclaimed vineyards close to the Skoolie
You may well have heard of Nyetimber and Bolney Wine, after all, they have put Sussex on the international wine map, but there are also several other vineyards in the area worth talking about.
Skoolie Stays has several incredible vineyards within 5-10 miles of the site at Little Thakeham Farm. The majority are open year-round for visitors interested in tours and tastings, and there are often dining experiences too.
Fine wine, fine food and fine company sounds like the perfect way to spend a day, so why not make your Skoolie Stay a full on Wine Tasting Break!
The secret behind their success of Sussex’s wine is the terroir and climate. it is incredibly similar to the Champagne region and the vines thrive on the diverse mix of clay, sand and limestone. They also benefit from the relatively mild weather and low rainfall – the proximity to the sea means temperatures are kept even. No extremes. Grapes ripen slowly and absorb all those minerals to develop the most exceptional flavours.
Just as in Champagne, many vintners opt to produce grape varieties like Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier as these make for fabulous sparkling wine. Some also create their own stills too and it’s been such a successful story that Sussex now has several vineyards of international acclaim with wine that rivals that of the French.
Sussex Modern writes in more detail about each vineyard and even lets you know who needs help with the picking, but if it’s just the sampling you are after, take a look at our list of favourite vineyards. Each one offers the opportunity to learn how the wine is created and aged, how to pair wines, how to grow vines – they offer a fascinating, informative (and delicious!) day out.
Within walking distance of the Skoolie, or just a short drive, Kinsbrook offers 90 minute public tours and tastings every Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 11am from May to October They include a tasting of three wines and you get a guaranteed table at the end if you fancy staying for food. They can also arrange private tours and tastings outside of those times - just get in touch
Nutbourne welcomes visitors to the vineyard and cellar door all year round. In Winter you can wander through the vines along the vineyard trail, take in the views from the windmill balcony, enjoy a selection of their wines with a cheese platter and pick up a bottle or two to take away. From Easter to Harvest in September, they offer wine by the glass, picnics, guided tours and events.
Nyetimber is is regarded as England's finest sparkling wine. It's less than a mile from Nutbourne - proof of some good soil! You can sign up to an open day to sample the famed Nyetimber wines, or even enjoy one of their dining experiences.
Ambriel is a family-run boutique vineyard that sits on sunny south-facing slopes overlooking the South Downs National Park. They can arrange a bespoke private tour for you, which includes a wine tasting They even focus on areas that you are particularly interested in - just let them know. Alternatively you can sign up to their open days and join a larger group.
Wiston Estate is a family-owned estate that produces exceptional sparkling wines - for which they have received critical acclaim and several awards. They offer a range of tours and tastings, as well as special events. They also have Chalk restaurant, which is an experience in itself.
Stopham vineyard is based in an spot of outstanding natural beauty in West Sussex and forms part of the South Downs National Park. They offer wine tasting tours with the winemaker on the majority of Saturdays at 11am or 2pm between April and September. You can also choose to add lunch by the river. They are closed on Sundays and bank holidays.
Upperton is a family-run vineyard set in the heart of the South Downs, with spectacular views. They offer private tours around the vineyard tour with the owner, which include a wine tasting. They also have a terrace bar, open from April until the end of the season.
We had to include Bolney's award-winning wines! The Vineyard Shop is open daily from 9am to 5pm and they offer a variety of tours and tasting experiences where you can learn about the methodology as well as how to pair wine with cheese etc. They also have a restaurant and cafe onsite, so there is plenty to keep you busy!