Discover the hidden stars of English Wine in Sussex

22nd February

Living in the Heathfield area, we are surprisingly close to many excellent vineyards, like Hidden Spring, Horam and Off the Line Vineyard in Hellingly, Davenport in Rotherfield, the Bluebell Vineyard Estate in Uckfield, Fox & Fox in Mayfield and Ridgeview in Ditchling to name but a few. They are all part of the wine making renaissance which is underway in Sussex and growing in momentum.

To celebrate the diversity of English Wine, Cuculo in Heathfield have a series of tastings planned; the first of which will explore Pinot Noir and be hosted by Kristina Studzinski from Off the Line Vineyard. We caught up with Kristina ahead of the tasting to find out more.

Off the Line vineyard produces award winning rosé wine. Kristina Studzinski and her partner Ann-Marie Tynan had been planning on making wines together for a number of years. This dream was realised with their first production –  two different styles of still rosé made from red grapes. The grapes came from vines planted in 2014  on a 13 acre site located in Hellingly, one of the sunniest parts of England, which benefits from predominately south-facing slopes with a prime soil profile of Weald clay over Tunbridge Wells sand. The vineyard now has a newly completed winery and tasting room which they plan to open on weekends during the Summer months.

The 2016 vintage produced two styles of rosé, Dog rosé and Hip rosé.

The 2016 Dog rosé is a modern, easy drinking rose. There is red berry fruit on the nose, fruits of the forest on the palate, fresh and lively with a  clean finish. It’s made from a blend of Regent, Dornfelder and Rondo grapes. 11 % abv. Price: £15.00

The 2016 Hip rosé is Provencal in style. Dry and  pale in colour. It’s a premium wine made from our  best Pinot noir and won a Silver medal at the inaugural UK Wine awards 2017. Peachy on the nose, linear on the palate yielding stone fruit, flint, wild strawberry, and hints of elderflower. It has a lingering finish punctuated by racy acidity. A serious wine to enjoy on its own or with food. 11 % abv. Price: £20.00.

The wine tasting on Saturday will explore a selection of wines that can be produced using the Pinot Noir grape, and all the wines will be English, with all but one coming from Sussex. There will be fizz from Fox & Fox in Mayfield and a pink fizz, white and red to be confirmed, the rosé will be the Hip Rosé from the Off the Line Vineyard. Master of Wine, Julia Harding said this about the Hip Rosé: ” Watery pink, very very pale – paler than the Dog Rosé. Light red fruits, dry, fresh and  really nice dry finish, succulent and persistent. Real refinement here. With enough structure to mean there is no rush to drink this.” Sounds delicious!

Kristina knows all the winemakers she has chosen for this tasting journey and is looking forward to sharing her passion for English Pinot Noir with those attending. If you can’t make the event then you can visit the vineyard by making an appointment: call Krystina on 07894541964

To attend the ‘Pinot Noir’ Wine Tasting Event, Saturday 24 February, 6.30pm at Cuculo, High St, Heathfield please call: 01435 862 596 to confirm availability of tickets, which are priced at £15 per person and include the wine tasting and some light food. If you are busy then Cuculo have two more English wine tasting events planned for March.

  • Saturday March 3 – 6:30pm | Hidden Spring Vineyard, Horam. A presentation introducing this exciting local winery, with a tasting of their two wines, a Bacchus and a Reichensteiner/Bacchus blend. There is no charge, but why not stay on and enjoy an extra glass or two, and one of our deli boards?
  • Saturday, March 10 – 6:30 | Bluebell Vineyard, Furner’s Green (under the Hindleap label). With guidance from Alicia from the winery and ourselves, taste through the extensive, high quality range. £10 includes light food to accompany.

If this has whetted your appetite for English wine your will find a selection at Cuculo or you can buy direct from the vineyards.