West Sussex vineyard celebrates major milestone with launch of first sparkling wines

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A West Sussex vineyard is celebrating a major milestone with the launch of its first English sparkling wines.

The vineyard – part of the 750-acre Leonardslee estate near Horsham – was first planted in 2017 and its very first harvest followed three years later. Now it is producing its first sparkling wines.

The Leonardslee Wine Estate is owned by businesswoman Penny Streeter. “This has been an immense undertaking and a project of love since the family first purchased the estate in 2016 with the vision of creating a vineyard destination that celebrates wine, nature, food, arts and design,” she said.

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"We make wine only from fruit grown and nurtured in our vineyards. Everything is managed to ensure the highest quality and a fully sustainable approach from the outset.”

Leonardslee House and vineyard near HorshamLeonardslee House and vineyard near Horsham
Leonardslee House and vineyard near Horsham

The vineyard focuses on the classic Champagne varietals: 60 per cent Chardonnay, 30 per cent Pinot Noir and 10 per cent Pinot Meunier. Overseeing production are Barry Anderson, managing director of the UK wine business, and winemaker Johann Fourie, who brings his expertise from Penny's award-winning Benguela Cove Lagoon Wine Estate in South Africa, an eco-tourism destination voted one of the Top 100 World’s Best Vineyards.

The Leonardslee wine labels feature the migratory barn swallow, which can end its long journey from Africa in Sussex. It symbolises Penny’s own journey between her home and vineyards in South Africa and her English sparkling wine estate.

At Leonardslee family vineyards there are around 70,000 vines over 38 acres under cultivation. The estate harvested 170 tonnes of grapes in 2023, with an anticipated average annual production of 100,000 bottles of sparkling Sussex Wine. Leonardslee Blanc de Blancs is priced at £60, with Brut Reserve and Brut Rose at £45·

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Lenardslee's newly-launched English sparkling winesLenardslee's newly-launched English sparkling wines
Lenardslee's newly-launched English sparkling wines

Visitors can enjoy a golf buggy tour of the vineyards then at the Vineyard Kitchen and Hotel on Hammerpond Road guests can enjoy a gourmet lunch or classic afternoon tea, as well as wine tastings and pairings in the Tasting Room. Luxury overnight stays in the new hotel are also available. The estate now also hosts weddings both at the Vineyard Hotel and also at Leonardslee House.

An English Wine Week Wine Tasting Experience is being held at Leonardslee from June 14.