Which vineyards in Sussex allow you to participate in the wine-making process during the harvest?

Escape to the picturesque countryside of Sussex, where miles of lush vineyards stretch out under the English sky. Experience the ancient art of winemaking firsthand and taste the fruits of your labor at some of the region's finest estates. This article will guide you through the Sussex vineyards which offer the unique opportunity to participate in the wine-making process during the harvest season.

Wiston Estate Vineyard

Nestled in the heart of South East Sussex, the Wiston Estate Vineyard stands as a testament to the region's rich wine-making legacy. This vineyard, renowned for its award-winning sparkling wines, offers visitors an immersive harvest experience. You are not only welcomed to visit and taste the wines, but also to roll up your sleeves and take part in the grape picking and pressing process.

Wiston Estate Vineyard is famed for its Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier grapes which transform into exceptional quality sparkling wines. The harvest generally takes place in early autumn, with the exact timing depending on the year's weather conditions. A day's visit during the harvest time will take you through the entire process - from picking the ripe bunches of grapes to observing the fermentation process, all under the expert guidance of the vineyard staff.

Ridgeview Wine Estate

Moving along to the South East, the Ridgeview Wine Estate is another gem that gives you an insight into the English wine-making experience. Ridgeview has been producing world-class sparkling wines since 1995, and their wines are a testament to the region's excellent grape-growing conditions.

Unique to Ridgeview is their hands-on harvest experience. You are invited to join the vineyard team during the harvest season, gathering ripe grapes from the vines and learning about the meticulous picking process. After a morning in the vineyard, you can enjoy a delicious lunch paired with Ridgeview's outstanding wines. Your day will conclude with a guided tasting session where you can sample the wide range of sparkling wines on offer.

Bolney Wine Estate

Next, head to the Bolney Wine Estate, an ambitious family-run venture that has been pioneering English wine production since the 1970s. Bolney's dedication to sustainable farming and innovative winemaking techniques has resulted in a range of stellar still and sparkling wines.

Every October, Bolney opens its gates to visitors keen on experiencing the harvest season. You get a chance to work alongside Bolney's expert team, learning all about the harvesting process - from selecting the perfect grapes to understanding their journey from vine to bottle. Your hard work is rewarded with a hearty lunch in their Eighteen Acre Café, followed by a guided winery tour and tasting.

Rathfinny Wine Estate

Lastly, the Rathfinny Wine Estate in East Sussex, known for its exemplary Sussex Sparkling wines, also offers a hands-on harvest experience. Established in 2010, Rathfinny has swiftly become an icon of English wine production.

During harvest, Rathfinny allows a limited number of guests to become part of their seasonal harvest team. You can spend a day in the beautiful South Downs, picking the ripe grapes destined to become Rathfinny's acclaimed sparkling wines. A harvest day at Rathfinny also includes a tour of their state-of-the-art winery, where you'll learn all about the meticulous winemaking process.

Each of these vineyards brings a unique perspective to the art of winemaking, offering you the chance to experience firsthand the dedication, skill, and passion that goes into creating Sussex's exceptional wines. Be it the elegance of Wiston, the history of Ridgeview, the innovation of Bolney, or the prestige of Rathfinny, you are guaranteed a fulfilling and enriching experience. Remember, the best times to visit will typically fall between September and October, depending on the year's climate. Make sure to plan your visit ahead and book your spot to secure your place in this unique wine harvest experience.

Albourne Estate Vineyard

In the picturesque setting of South Downs, you'll discover the charm of Albourne Estate Vineyard. This boutique vineyard, located in West Sussex, is known for its unique and innovative range of still and sparkling wines. As one of the Sussex vineyards that allow you to get involved in the winemaking process, Albourne Estate provides a rare opportunity for wine lovers to immerse themselves in the harvest season.

Albourne Estate prides itself on its commitment to low-intervention winemaking, ensuring that the unique characteristics of each harvest are captured in their wines. Their award-winning range includes a variety of grapes, including Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir, resulting in a diverse array of flavours to explore.

During harvest time, which typically falls between late September and early October, you can join the Albourne team as they handpick the grapes from the vine. This hands-on experience will give you a deep appreciation for the meticulous attention to detail that is required in the winemaking process. Following a morning in the vineyard, you can enjoy a delicious lunch on the estate, paired with a selection of Albourne's exceptional wines. The day concludes with a guided tour of the estate and a comprehensive wine tasting session.

Bluebell Vineyard Estates

Establish yourself at the heart of the Sussex wine country by visiting Bluebell Vineyard Estates. As the home of the award-winning English sparkling wine, Hindleap, Bluebell has played a significant part in elevating the reputation of Sussex wines on the global stage.

Situated in the beautiful surroundings of East Sussex, Bluebell Vineyard Estates offers a truly immersive harvest experience. During the peak harvest season, you can join their dedicated team in the vineyard, learning about the careful selection and hand-picking process that ensures only the best quality grapes are used in their wines.

After a morning spent in the vineyard, you'll be guided on a tour through their state-of-the-art winery, during which you'll learn about the winemaking process from grape to glass. Your efforts will be rewarded with a well-earned lunch and a showcase tasting of Bluebell's Hindleap range of sparkling wines. If you're a fan of English sparkling wines, a visit to Bluebell Vineyard Estates is a must.


With so many exceptional wine estates in Sussex offering immersive harvest experiences, there has never been a better time to explore the English wine industry. Whether you're a passionate wine enthusiast or simply curious about the winemaking process, a visit to one of these Sussex vineyards will provide a truly unique and unforgettable experience.

From the elegance of Wiston Estate and the pioneering spirit of Bolney Wine Estate to the heritage of Ridgeview, the innovation at Albourne Estate, and the prestige of Rathfinny and Bluebell Vineyards, each location brings its own unique charm to the Sussex wine scene. These vineyards not only showcase the finest wines that Sussex has to offer but also provide an intimate look into the hard work, dedication, and passion that goes into every bottle.

Remember, the best time to participate in the winemaking process is during the harvest season, typically from September to October. Be sure to book your visit early as these experiences can sell out quickly. Whether you're rolling up your sleeves in the vineyard or savouring a glass of award-winning sparkling wine, you're sure to leave with a deeper appreciation for Sussex wines.

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