PETWORTH MP Nick Herbert visited Upperton Vineyard at Tillington to help promote local wine production and English Tourism Week.
The owner, Andy Rogers and his family planted 800 trial vines in 2005 and today there are 32,000 vines on the slopes of Tillington.
They produce several award winning sparkling wines. The vineyard’s Aurora Brut 2010 won the Silver Decanter award last year, and their Erubseco 2010 won a Bronze award.
Last summer, Upperton opened the doors to a new shop, conference room and terrace, and the vineyard organises tours and wine tastings.
The number of English wine producers has more than doubled in the last decade and there are almost 500 vineyards throughout the country.
Nick Herbert said: “The South Downs is a leading area for English wine production and I am proud to have more producers in my constituency than any other.
“The image of English wine has been transformed in recent years and we now produce sparkling wine that competes with leading champagnes. I think there is a huge opportunity to promote the South Downs as an area to visit for tourism, good food and wine.”
Nigel Smith, chief executive of Tourism South East, said: “In the last 16 years English sparkling wines have won 14 international sparkling wine trophies – no other country in the world has achieved this. Maybe it isn’t so surprising because our vineyards benefit from the same chalky soils around the North and South Downs similar to the earth used to plant grapes for famous names such as Bollinger.”
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