UK wine industry in spat as Sussex gets protected designated wine status

Woodchurch Vineyard Image Woodchurch

A spat has broken out over wine produced in Sussex being granted Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) for wine by the environment secretary, with rival wine areas saying that the area is not special.

The designation granted on June 18 provides the region with a status similar to that of Rioja, however, winemakers in Kent have described the award as a marketing stunt. The designation adds to a growing list of specially designated areas in the UK that include Cornish pasties, Stilton cheese and others.

The designation requires winemakers to reflect the area on their bottles, which have to be made according to local tradition and must be aged for two years.

Sussex is the UK’s largest maker of wine-producing more than 25 per cent of all wine made in the country.

Art Tukker who owns the Tinwood Estate in Chichester told Sky News: “We’re going to be seeing a glass of Sussex available in New York, Tokyo, Los Angeles, maybe even Paris, but I’m not sure the Champagne guys will like that so much.”

But neighbouring winemakers in Kent have dismissed the development as a “marketing stunt” with one farmer Graham Barbour, founder and owner of Woodchurch Wine Estate saying that the soil in Kent vineyards can be similar to that in Sussex.

He added: “In addition, warmer temperatures from climate change will benefit the British wine industry as a whole and so to distinguish one area from another is arbitrary.

“I just don’t think it’s particularly useful or helpful to make out it’s got some unique property or quality about it.

“It could be anywhere in Southern England.”

Designated origin can be a useful marketing tool when the product either originated from the area or where there is a long history of producing the item in the area. Sussex who was afforded protected designated wine status is not known for either and it remains to be seen whether it will be of any value, the proof will be in the drinking!

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Written by

Peter McLaren-Kennedy

Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]