Bolney Wine Estate
- Wheelchair Access
- Public Transport within 5 miles
Individuals & Groups
Wednesday am, Friday & Saturday, am & pm. Also Thursday during busy times.
With a range of tours on offer, consult the website for specific dates and details.
The Luxury tour offers that little bit more background for the interested, putting the whole winemaking process into its UK and global context, from Roman times through to the 20th – and now the 21st – century, along with a bottle of Bolney wine to take home plus the option of a Sussex ploughmans to round the visit off.
Booking is essential. Saturdays in particular are popular so best to book ahead.
normal guided tours
Opening after a major revamp in mid-June 2012, the light, bright enlarged café offers tasty seasonal fare from Wednesday to Saturday, 8am-4pm, complete with homemade offerings from chef Dan, local foods from local suppliers – even a note of the food miles.
Train: Haywards Heath, 5 miles
Shop and tasting room, plus winery
Tucked down the appropriately named Foxhole Lane 14 miles north of Brighton is one of English wine’s dynasties. Second generation Sam Linter is making a name for herself as one of the brightest winemakers of the noughties, but it was her parents, Rodney and Jean Pratt who took the leap of faith in the 1970s and set up Bolney Wine Estate at Bookers Vineyard.
Bolney is by no means huge, but every member of staff counts. Surrounded by sheep-clad, softly undulating hills, your guide for the day is likely to be someone who’s had a link with the winery for years, and this shows in the quality of your tour and the warmth of their welcome.
And Sam helps other young winemakers and wineries by offering contract winemaking services. Those delivering enough grapes will have their own wine returned to them fully made, while others will see their fruit go into a Bolney blend, receiving back a number of bottles equivalent to the fruit they submitted.
Choose between the shorter, Discovery tours, or the more in-depth Luxury tours. All finish with a tutored tasting of a selection of Bolney wines, plus there’s an option to add in lunch or dinner depending on whether you are morning or afternoon.
During your tour of the vineyards, with their mix of Germanic grape varieties, modern so-called Champagne varietals (the ever popular Pinot Noir, for example) and others such as Pinot Grigio and Merlot, you’ll see the relatively high trellising system that deters rabbits and badgers. You might see resident winery dog, Bracken, who does what she can to keep the deer away. There’s as much – or as little – technical info as you would like.
After passing through the winery, constructed with the help of an EU grant in the 2000s, you finish in the bright atriummed-tasting room. Quite a makeover from its original existence as a chicken shed!
- Bolney Blanc de Blancs 2007 – Gold Outstanding, 2012 IWSC
- Pinot Noir 2008 – Silver & Best in Class, 2010 International Wine & Spirit Competition, plus picked as The One Show’s wine, late May 2010, beating off two Burgundies, impressing the likes of resident foodie, Jay Rayner.
- Autumn Spice 2009, white – Silver, 2010 International Wine Challenge & Bronze, Decanter World Wine Awards
- English Wine Week, late May/early June
- Sussex Day, June
- Open day, one Saturday in December
- Antares 2008 – Bolney’s first red sparkling wine
- Pinot Noir 2009 – the follow-on vintage to the one that came tops on the BBC’s One Show
- Pinot Grigio 2009 – Another Sam innovation – think northern Italian style
SE & UK Vineyards Association, Taste of Sussex, SE Tourist Board