Celebrate Sussex wine at the Festival of Chichester
Chichester-based wine writer and author Liz Sagues is spreading the word on the pleasures of English wine, still and sparkling, with an innovative new book – and a talk at this year’s Festival of Chichester.
Sussex by the Glass takes the story of the country’s fastest-growing agricultural sector to a further, more specific level, focusing on one county and two pioneer wine-making families.
Liz will be discussing the book and the research behind it at a special festival event, Fabulous Fizz on June 19 at 6pm at the New Park Community Centre.
“I’m delighted by the response to the book,” Liz said. “Copies have been bought by lots of individuals – even one in Sweden – plus bookshops and wine merchants, and there has been enthusiastic reaction from people professionally involved with English wine.
“Seeing the whole project through, from idea through research and writing to design and marketing, has been both challenging and rewarding.
“The book does, I hope, give a particularly personal slant to the inspiring story of how wine has become so important now in southern England – a story that will continue to develop and expand.
“I’m looking forward to seeing how I might be able to cover it further, in a year or two’s time. There will certainly be much more to tell.”
For the festival, Liz will introduce her new book and also explain the county’s role in the story of modern English wine.
Sip a glass of fine Sussex sparkling wine, ask questions and browse Liz’s books. Over-18s only.
“Sussex is particularly important in the modern development of English wine, now recognised worldwide for its high quality.
“It was an obvious choice for what is, I believe, the first book to be devoted to a single English wine region.”
Liz cites the county’s role as producer of many of England’s finest bottles.
“It was a Sussex vineyard which first brought English sparkling wine to international renown; the county is home to a world-recognised wine college; and it is in the forefront of the movement towards more sustainable English wine.
“Central characters in the book are the long-established Bolney and Ridgeview estates. Both are remarkable because they are multi-generation businesses, rare in a comparatively new industry – and they are both now headed by the daughters of their founders.”
Liz added: “I was very fortunate in being able to spend time with many of the people involved in creating what today are two major brands in English wine.
“The stories of both estates are fascinating, from how and why they were founded, through tribulations and triumphs to their continuing success at home and abroad.
“This is exactly the right moment to publish a book that tells a broader story through their experiences. Ridgeview Wine Estate toasted its 25th anniversary last year, and Bolney Wine Estate will reach its 50th birthday in 2022.”
The book explains the historical background to winemaking in England and also introduces the “champagne widows”, so vital in developing fine sparkling wine.
“A substantial section describes, month by month, what happens among the vines and in the winery, to help visitors to English vineyards understand how grapes end up in glass.
“There is reference, too, to Sussex wine producers’ ingenious response to the coronavirus pandemic, which curtailed many of their activities.”
Sussex by the Glass, which has more than 100 colour photographs, is available to buy from Tanwood Press (you can email [email protected]) for £12 including UK postage.