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New English wine book Sussex by the Glass released

A new book on English wine focusing on two longstanding estates in Sussex, both fronted by women, has been released this week.

Sussex by the Glass by wine writer Liz Sagues was released yesterday to coincide with International Women’s Day. The work focuses on two well-established wine estates – Bolney and Ridgeview – which are now headed up by the daughters of their founders, namely Sam Linter and Tamara Roberts.

With privileged access to both estates, and featuring interviews with the winemaking team, Sagues’ book explains how and why both wineries were founded and the trials and tribulations along the way.

Sam Linter with husband Graham and children Matt and Charlotte in 1999. Graham is now Bolney Wine Estate’s senior IT manager, Charlotte manages tours and events. Credit: Bolney Wine Estate

In one extract, Linter, head winemaker and managing director of Bolney, remembers: “When I first started in this industry, it was a man’s world. There were very, very, very few females in there, and those that were in it had to fight very hard to be recognised. It wasn’t easy.

“I grew up a little bit of a feminist, encouraged by my mother… I was determined to not let anybody stop me from achieving what I wanted to achieve.”

Recounting buying spare tractor parts, she recalls: “There was always a delay while any male customers were served, a rudeness from the staff, a ‘why are you here?’ atmosphere. ‘You really had to be very forceful, very pushy.”

Meanwhile Roberts, the CEO of Ridgeview, told Sagues about the importance of women in English wine: “I think it’s just brilliant now that it can be the daughter and it doesn’t have to be the son. Before, there were loads of daughters who could do a much better job than their brothers but just weren’t given the opportunity. Any company that doesn’t have women on the board or in the senior management team is missing a massive trick.”

Sussex by the Glass has been launched at a pivotal moment for both wineries. Bolney will celebrate its 50th anniversary next year, while Ridgeview turned 25 in 2020. The book also takes a more general approach, exploring the history and present significance of Sussex in England’s fastest-growing agriculture sector: vine growing.

Tamara Roberts and brother Simon, Ridgeview’s head winemaker. “Neither of us is more important than the other,” says Tamara. “We just have very different roles.” Credit: Ridgeview Wine Estate

The region, formed of the counties of East and West Sussex, does not only contain a large number of the UK’s wineries, it is also home to Plumpton College, where a large proportion of the current crop of winemakers have trained.

Sussex by the Glass has been written, designed and printed in Sussex, and is illustrated with over 100 colour photographs. Among the other topics discussed within its pages is sustainability, wine tourism and a month-by-month account of activity in both the vineyard and winery.

Retailing for £12, it is available to buy by emailing, or alternatively visiting dedicated pages on the Bolney and Ridgeview websites. Sagues’ previous works include A Celebration of English Wine (Robert Hale, 2018).

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