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Bolney Wine Estate is located on the edge of the South Downs, about 14 miles from the UK’s south coast, and comprises five unique vineyard sites. The vines were re-planted in 2002-2005, being replaced when they reach 35-40 years of age. One vine produces enough grapes for 1-3 bottles of wine.
Our vineyard manager, Sue Osgood, works tirelessly with the team to provide extensive canopy management throughout the season to ensure the ideal microclimate, leading to a high quality fruit.
The vines are trained using Vertical Shoot Positioning (in the Foxhole Vineyards), this is where the vines are trained upward and the fruiting takes place below. This method makes the vines much more vulnerable to deer as they eat the leaves, canes and fruit on the vine, so we protect the crop by enclosing the field with deer fencing, but this does produce more fruit-driven grapes.
We also use the Sylvos System (in our Eighteen Acre Field) which requires a lot more time for pruning and trimming. However, the fruit grows much higher with this method, which works out much better for preventing wildlife from spoiling the harvest.
We have the perfect soil type here at Bolney, it is predominantly Upper Tunbridge Wells Sand, which allows good heat retention and excellent drainage.
Mean average temperatures across growing season are in the range of 12°C - 15°C, though summer daytime temperatures are often in the mid 20°C’s.
The proximity of the Estate to the South Downs, combined with a low altitude and surrounding woodland, helps to shelter the Estate from the dominant wind currents from the South West.
The first grape variety to be planted in 1972 was Müller-Thurgau, a white grape varietal originating from Germany. Over the last 40 years, we have grown 9 different varieties of red and white grapes on our Estate, comprising of; Würzer, Pinot Gris, Müller-Thurgau, Bacchus, Chardonnay, Reichensteiner, Pinot Noir, Rondo & Dornfelder.
Presently, we are focusing on 6 key premium varietals: Pinot Noir, Rondo, Dornfelder, Chardonnay, Bacchus and Pinot Gris.