Rathfinny Wine Estate

‘Sussex’ a new quality marque for wine

We are a step closer to establishing ‘Sussex’ as a quality marque for wine, as DEFRA have submitted the PDO application to the European Commission. It will now go out to consultation with all EU member states and become a protected name under the EU GI scheme. It’s official, it’s on the DEFRA website.

Some three years ago a group of English wine producers in Sussex including Ridgeview, Bolney and Stopham, got together to establish ‘Sussex’ wine with a Protected Designated of Origin, a PDO. Similar to Stilton Cheese, Cornish Clotted Cream and Jersey Royal Potatoes this new PDO will give consumers of any wine labeled as ‘Sussex’ wine a sense of provenance but also, we believe, it will be a mark of quality.

From this year onwards, any wine labeled as a ‘Sussex’ wine will have to follow strict rules to do with quality, of both the grapes used to make the wine, but also in the way the wine is made. These wine making standards include; lower sulphur dioxide and strict volatile acidity levels and longer bottle ageing. Each ‘Sussex’ wine will have to go through an independent Qualitative Assessment that we believe will ensure that only the best wines from Sussex will be labeled ‘Sussex’ wines.

We’re not saying that other producers of ‘English’ wine in Hampshire, Kent, Dorset or Cornwall can’t produce such quality wines, but the PDO will ensure that if you pick a ‘Sussex’ wine, not only will you be sure of its provenance but also of its quality. So look out for wines labeled as ‘Sussex’ wines.

The aim is that in ten years time you walk into a restaurant in New York and the bartender asks you – “Would you like a glass of Champagne or a perhaps a delicious glass of Sussex, I can recommend the Rathfinny!”

As Jamie Goode recently pointed out…  “Wines of style can be imitated and even bettered, but wines of place can’t.”

PDO’s are all about provenance.

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  • What will be the repercussions if we leave the EU?
    If we leave will producers still be able to sell their wine in the U.K. called Sussex if it doesn’t fill the requirements of the GI?

    • When the UK leaves the EU we will undoubtably come to an arrangement to protect Europeans GIs and the Europeans will protect ours. The Sussex PDO will not be affected by us leaving the EU. We could also remain part of the EU GI scheme as a third party nation.

      FYI – Scotch Whisky has just applied to the New Zealanders to get approval under their GI scheme.

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