Bolney Wine Estate celebrates 50th anniversary

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Pioneering Sussex vineyard announces plans to mark winemaking milestone.

Bolney Wine Estate, the Sussex based vineyard producing award-winning still and sparkling English wines, is proud to be celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

Fifty years ago, English wine was not widely celebrated. When founders Janet and Rodney Pratt first took on the challenge of planting vines in sunny Sussex, they encountered sceptics, both at home and abroad, who maintained it was impossible to produce quality English wine. At that time Bolney Wine Estate was just one of a handful of commercial vineyards in the UK, a far cry from the 800+ that exist today. Since 1972, guided by nature and a true understanding of the local microclimate, the estate has been at the forefront of the resurgence of English wine through its use of pioneering techniques, bold innovation and a belief that English wine is deserving of global recognition.

Bolney Wine Estate – some facts and figures:

  • 1977: the Estate consisted of 2,000 vines planted across the site, which allowed for experimentation with different grape varieties
  • 1983: Bolney plants some of the first Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vines in the UK
  • 1985: Janet & Rodney pick up their first IWSC (International Wine & Spirit Competition) award, a prestigious silver medal for the 1983 ‘Bolne’ (white wine, Müller-Thurgau grape varieties)
  • Early 1990’s: Sam Linter (Janet & Rodney’s daughter) joined the family business as MD & Head Winemaker, with a determination to produce award-winning still red wine
  • 2002: planted the Eighteen Acre Vineyard which is an excellent site for vines due to its south facing slope, sandstone soils, and height starting at 35m above sea level
  • 2012: Bolney wins its first UK Wine Producer of the Year in the IWSC
  • 2015: Bolney Wine Estate Pinot Gris is the first English wine to be served at Wimbledon
  • 2016: new visitor centre launched, now welcoming visitors from across the world
  • 2019: the Duchess of Cornwall opens the new state-of-the-art winery, which allowed production to increase by 170%
  • 2021: Sam Linter becomes Chair of WineGB

As for the year ahead, the Estate will be celebrating with an incredible calendar of events & activities including unveiling a portfolio of exclusive wines to demonstrate Bolney’s journey, and its continuing innovation in winemaking. The programme will include special tours & tastings with Sam Linter, new menu launches, a Winemaker’s Dinner as well as celebrations in the vines. More information on the full programme including dates, ticket prices & how to book will be released soon.

Sam Linter, MD and Head Winemaker at Bolney Wine Estate, explained “Fifty years means a lot to us as a family, and as we reflect on our journey, we can only say thank you for the immeasurable support our colleagues, community, supporters and extended Bolney family have given us. My parents would have been thrilled to see that the seed they planted so many decades ago has grown into something so special. Cheers to fifty years!”