Protected status expected for Sussex wine

Sparkling wine fans could soon be asking bartenders for ‘a glass of Sussex’, as authorities are expected to award the county’s winemakers the same protected status as regions like Champagne and Bordeaux.

The Rathfinny Estate in Sussex (Photo: Rathfinny)

The Rathfinny Estate in Sussex (Photo: Rathfinny)

Officials have indicated the English county’s winemakers will soon be rewarded with the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status that sparkling winemakers in the Champagne region of France and Prosecco-makers from the north of Italy enjoy.

The PDO status comes with strict quality rules that Sussex producers hope will increase the prestige associated with the county’s wines.

An announcement of the approval will be made by the UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the Sunday Telegraph reports, after which the European Commission is expected to give the PDO designation the final sign-off.

It is thought that once Sussex is given a protected status other English counties will soon follow.

“We believe that Sussex will become synonymous with high-quality sparkling and still wine,” said Mark Driver of Rathfinney Wine Estate.

He told the newspaper: “When you go into a bar in London or Tokyo or New York in say 20 years’ time, the waiter will ask you: ‘Would you like a glass of Champagne or a glass of Sussex’?”

Environment Secretary Liz Truss said: “There has never been a more exciting time for the English and Welsh sparkling wine industry and I look forward to seeing it go from strength to strength, taking its rightful place alongside Champagne.

“Our protected food and drink names have a rich tradition and history, and legally protecting them means more than simply preventing pale imitation.”

4 Responses to “Protected status expected for Sussex wine”

  1. Glugger says:

    Utter nonsense. What about some of the renowned English estates who have vineyards across county borders. And since when has a political boundary become topographical? Does this mean that Nyetimber, Chapel Down, etc., miss out. And we know full well from the various appellation systems around the world that having a PDO is no guarantee of quality. Smacks of pandering to consumers from Little England and producers with deep pockets, big egos and a fear of the competition from beyond the county line.

  2. Frances says:

    Complete codswallop! I’m a retired geography teacher and Sussex has no geographical significance on it’s own. It is purely a political boundary… has no defined landscape, soil or weather to distinguish it from its neighbours like us in Hampshire.

  3. A Sussex PDO would devalue the entire concept. As per Frances’ comment above, Sussex has within its boundaries many different types of geology and topography. There is considerable opposition within the UK wine industry to the creation of a Sussex PDO and it seems unlikely that DEFRA would sanction it.

  4. Richard Bampfield says:

    PDO’s are intended to protect viticultural regions with a clear historical and stylistic tradition. They have nothing to do with political boundaries. This is an ill-conceived project that will divide the English wine industry at just the moment it needs to be united in order to capitalise on its current success.

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