17 July 2021

  • Woodland Walk and Wine Tasting, 17 July 2021
  • Walk Leader: Malinka
  • Distance:  6 – 7 miles
  • Start: 10am start at lay-by near Borden Wood

A fun day was anticipated and that is what we got. The meeting place, a lay-by near Borden Wood, was duly found (much to Tony’s amazement as I don’t have Sat Nav!) and after a short chat about what to expect, Malinka led the group of 11 off. She had warned us that it might be muddy in parts and that was the case in a few places near Hammer Pond and the stream but not difficult to navigate at all. As it was a very warm day it was lovely that a lot of the 6/7 miles were under the dappled shade of the trees. 

A couple of steeper hills made us a bit warmer but we had plenty of water to drink and something a bit stronger to look forward to. At one point we were able to avoid a sticky path by using one that monks, from the local monastery, have created to enable them to enjoy the woods and a good job they have made of it too. 

At the end of the walk, we spent some time rehydrating and eating our lunch in the lay-by near our cars before walking the short distance down a single track lane to Trotton Estate Vineyards for our tour. 

We were greeted by our guides for the day, who were both very friendly, happy to answer any questions and very knowledgeable on the ‘art’ of growing vines, producing the finished product and everything else involved in the wine world. Firstly, they explained that the owners of the vineyard had been polo players and in fact one of the flat fields in front of us had, at one point, been a polo pitch. When they, and their ponies retired, various uses for the land were considered until they realised that their fields were on south facing slopes with greensand as were the successful Nytimber and Upperton vineyards. 

Decision made, they planted the first vineyard with Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay in 2013 with the plan to make an English sparkling wine. They also decided to add to their plans, a still white wine and Bacchus and Pinot Gris were also planted. Their Brilliant Bacchus (with a dash of Pinot Gris) was first produced in 2015 and after five years they launched their Spectacular English Sparkling Brut Classic Cuvee which has been immensely successful winning blind tastings against some of the best champagne houses. 

We were shown the vines which due to vagaries of our English weather were about 3 weeks behind where they should be but they are hopeful that this current warm spell will help greatly. 

There are now three vineyards varying slightly in age and named after their ponies. After lots of information passed on by our knowledgeable guides and various questions asked and answered we were led to their tasting hut, beautifully laid out tables situated in a stunning setting with views of the South Downs. 

We were supplied firstly with their sparkling wine and then the Bacchus with more information on where it is made and percentage by volume of each, crackers and cheese were provided to help things along nicely.

Water was also on hand for when moving from the first to second tasting. In my opinion both were delightful. Both bottles were available to purchase at what most of us believed to be a very fair price. 

A very lovely walk and thoroughly enjoyable vineyard tour and tasting! As it says on their website, “Watch this vineyard. It’s small but you know the saying …. ‘Big things come in small packages’”. 


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