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Sussex Wine near to final stages of PDO status after years of waiting

Sussex wine is in the final stages of being considered as a protected designation of origin (PDO), after its application for eligibility came under consultation, formally, from yesterday.

The region, formed of the counties of East and West Sussex, contains a large number of the UK’s wineries including Rathfinny, Ridgeview, Bolney Estate, Breaky Bottom, Albourne and Court Garden, as well as being home to Plumpton College where a large proportion of winemakers have trained.

The PDO would give wine producers in the southern British county’s vineyards a status that is “recognised for its quality and distinctive characteristics that are exclusively a result of the geographical environment it comes from,” stated the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs.

“A PDO wine must be produced, processed and packaged in the geographical area identified in the application. The grapes must come exclusively from that area and the vine variety must come from the genus vitis vinifera,” reminded the department.

According to WineGB: “PDO and PGI designations are European Union indicators of quality and authenticity in terms of regional origin or traditional production. The wines that qualify have met certain requirements for their technical analysis and have passed an organoleptic assessment.” However, “wines produced in the county of Sussex are able to apply for a separate Sussex designation, currently ‘Sussex Quality Wine’ pending final approval of the Sussex PDO scheme by the European Commission.”

English wineries in Sussex have continued to make bids for PDO status to help the region’s wines receive the same protection as Champagne or Prosecco for the past few years.

There is potential to amend the rules surrounding the PDO/PGI transferred from EU legislation for English and Welsh wines now that the UK has left the EU, should the industry feel it was productive. A decision has not yet been made on whether there will be a review, and there is no set timeline.

The notice period to object to the final stages of the official registration of Sussex wine as a PDO closes on the 9 November 2021.

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