Just eight miles inland to the North of Brighton, is a family run winery specialising in making the finest English Sparkling Wines. Ridgeview was established in 1995 and the families' vision was clear and simple: “to produce world-class, traditional method, sparkling wines in England”.
To make the best wines, you need the best ingredients, so a clear plan was to plant just three varieties, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. These grapes are cultivated across 5 vineyards covering around 150 acres in the South Downs. The winery itself is positioned on the edge of a picturesque Chardonnay vineyard near the village of Ditchling.
My visit was blessed with warm spring sunshine, and although the vines have yet to wake from their winter rest, there was a vibe in the air… things were looking good. It`s very clear that a lot of love has gone into the last 22 years, and the care and attention lavished on the vines has clearly been rewarded – as demonstrated by the 304 medals won since 1996, including winning “Decanter – `Best Sparkling Wine in the World`” in 2010 for their Blanc de Blanc.
Within the winery, everything is state of the art with investment having been made to maximise the potential for quality. Each wine is crafted and stored separately so the final blends can be adapted to keep a consistent end product. This means lots of small tanks holding as little as 1000 litres and a small number of both new and 4-year-old Burgundy barrels holding some “experimental” styles.
On to the wines themselves, there are 3 styles available through Matthew Clark:
- Bloomsbury – 58% Chardonnay, 28% Pinot Noir, 14% Pinot Meunier
- Cavendish – 30% Pinot Meunier, 41% Pinot Noir, 29% Chardonnay
- Fitzrovia Rose – 50% Chardonnay, 33% Pinot Noir, 17% Pinot Noir
The future plans are of course for expansion, with new contract growers, new plantings and new equipment to aid the necessary growth.
The wines available through MC are soon to become Non-Vintage as consistency of product, is paramount to build long term business. There will, of course, be some “special cuvees” and I for one am dying to try them.If you`re in the area… drop in for some great hospitality, great wines and a lovely view
If you're in the area… drop in for some great hospitality, great wines and a lovely view.