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English wine and golf estate plans new winery

Mannings Heath in West Sussex has submitted plans to build a winery, tasting room and restaurant on its 500-acre site ahead of its first harvest this year.

Mannings Heath clubhouse

Mannings Heath was bought by entrepreneur Penny Streeter OBE, CEO of South Africa’s Benguela Collection wine and hospitality group, in 2016. A 37-acre (15 hectare) vineyard was planted the following year, with total production expected to reach 75,000 bottles of sparkling wine per year. The first wines will be released in 2023.

The winery will be able to process 150 tons of grapes each year and will be large enough to store bottles of sparkling wine as they mature.

The proposed winery plans

The buildings will be constructed in a Cape Dutch style to reflect the company’s South African roots.

The new facility will also process grapes grown at nearby Leonardslee Gardens, which was acquired by the Benguela Collection in 2017.

Having undertaken the restoration of Grade I listed gardens and Grade II listed 19th century mansion house, Streeter also planted the UK’s first Pinotage vineyard at Leonardslee in 2018. 

Benguela Collection winemaker Johann Fourie is using the experimental site to assess Pinotage’s potential in Sussex.

Speaking when the vineyard was planted, he said the plan was to make a still red from the vineyard, but if this is unsuccessful, the grapes will be added to the base wine for Mannings Heath’s sparkling.

The vineyard being planted at Mannings

The vineyard at Mannings Heath is instead planted with Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Meunier. The Benguela Collection also has a vineyard and wine estate in Walker Bay, South Africa.

Commenting on the construction, Penny Streeter OBE, said: “We have created a unique wine destination at Mannings, with wine-themed events and food pairings throughout the year, and the recently opened Vineyard Kitchen restaurant. There are golf buggy tours of the vineyard, barbeques on the terraces, and 18 and nine-hole golf courses.”

“The new building we are planning is essential to house the equipment required for the pressing of grapes and fermentation, bottling and storage of wine. It would also include a 120-seat restaurant and wine tasting room to create a special visitor experience, combining art, cuisine and wine, with beautiful views over the golf course.

Leonardslee Gardens also has its own restaurant called Interlude which was awarded a Michelin star in the latest guide. 

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