Ridgeview Wine Estate

Less than ten miles north of Brighton is the Ridgeview Wine Estate where grapes are grown, and serious awards are won.

Ridgeview was founded in 1994 by Mike and Chris Roberts following the sale of their IT business. A site at Ditchling Common was picked which today consists of 17 acres of vines (7.5 acres of Chardonnay, and 9.5 acres of Pinot noir and Pinot Meunier) surrounding a sophisticated production plant, offices and a brand new tasting room. Growing partners in and around Sussex account for another 170 acres.

There are around 15 permanent members of staff today including family members Simon, Tamara and Mardi Roberts as Head Winemaker, CEO and Sales & Marketing Manager respectively. Currently involved in the creation of the new tasting room are Yelo Architects whose previous work includes the One Hove Park scheme on Hove Park Gardens, and Nutshell Construction who were responsible for a loving refurbishment of Brook Place, a 17th century farmhouse in Cowfold.

The tasting room consists of a generous dividable space with dreamy views of the South Downs (as the firm’s name suggests) across rows of vines. On the opposite side of the room, visitors can gaze over the gleaming machinery that ultimately turns grapes into award-winning sparkling wines. Angled panels in Ridgeview’s characteristic burgundy and gold bounce the light around the room in every direction.

Downstairs, huge tanks contain the pressed juice of the three different types of grape that are used. The operation began with the production of 25,000 bottles per year. It’s now 250,000. Sparkling wine takes several years to make which means that several times that number are stored on site.

A cellar below holds 250,000 bottles but more space is required – hence the commencement of construction of a new facility next-door that will hold 1,000,000 bottles.