Sussex wine makes bid for protected status

English wineries in Sussex are making a bid to the EU for Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status – which could result in the region’s wines receiving the same protection as Champagne or Prosecco.

Rathfinny

The Rathfinny Estate

In what would be a further boost to the thriving English wine industry, PDO status would allow producers to label their wines as Sussex wine guaranteeing a product’s authenticity and origin in the same way as Champagne.

Rathfinny is one winery involved in leading the campaign with Jamie Everett, its chief operating officer, confirming that the campaign is aimed at seeking a joint PDO for both sparkling and still wines across the county of Sussex – an area known for producing some of the UK’s best sparkling wines to rival Champagne due to its similar soils.

“We think Sussex is a great name,” Mr Everett told the Financial Times. “A traditional old county with a lot of quality producers. If you were in a bar somewhere else in the world, you could say, can I have a glass of Sussex, please?”

“Quality-wise we have improved massively in the last 20 years and are already holding ourselves up to international competition”, he added.

If approved, a PDO would impose stricter regulations on winemakers in Sussex. Sparkling wine for example would be required to be aged in bottle for at least 15 months, similar to Champagne, and have a higher minimum alcohol content than current guidelines, Everett said.

Julia Trustram Eve, marketing director of English Wine Producers, told the drinks business: “It is still early days for this initiative, but it reflects the opportunities available to producers within this still growing and evolving industry – not only to build on the quality parameters of wine production but to enhance their geographical significance.”

The bid comes at a time of rapid growth within the English wine industry, with the number of vineyards across England and Wales now numbering more than 400 covering some 3,500 acres. The Department for Food and Rural Affairs believes global retail sales of English wine could hit £100m this year.

Other UK products with PDO status include Cornish clotted cream and Jersey royal potatoes. The application for Sussex wine is expected to be submitted later this month.

One Response to “Sussex wine makes bid for protected status”

  1. Almost all English (and Welsh) Quality Still Wines and Quality Sparkling Wines already have PDO status and therefore the bid for a Sussex PDO will not change their status, other than to restrict their origin to the two counties of East and West Sussex.

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