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New vineyard planted at South Lodge hotel in Sussex

Almost 20,000 vines have been planted at the 5* hotel in conjunction with local vineyard Ridgeview

South Lodge has become the latest vineyard hotel in the UK after 19,500 vines were planted at the country house hotel, near Horsham in Sussex, this month.

The vines, which include the traditional ‘Champagne’ grape varieties, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, were planted this month in collaboration with local vineyard and long-time partner, Ridgeview.

Spanning six hectares, the vineyard is planted across two south-facing sites. It is anticipated 30,000 bottles of English sparkling wine will be produced from the vines by the skilled team at Ditchling Common-based Ridgeview, although it will be two years before any grapes begin to appear.

The plantings make South Lodge the second ‘vineyard hotel’ in Sussex after The Pig in The South Downs opened its doors last year having planted 4,000 vines on site. That vineyard will experience its first harvest this autumn

Once the vineyard is fully established, around 10,000 bottles of wine will be produced solely for South Lodge and the wider Exclusive Collection and will be made available to enjoy and purchase from the hotels directly.

“Guests across the Exclusive properties will be able to enjoy a unique, estate grown vintage sparkling wine, which we have no doubt will be among the finest in England when ready for release,” commented Ridgeview CEO Tamara Roberts. “We can’t wait to open a bottle and celebrate our partnership with the Exclusive team in a few years’ time!”

A sustainable choice

The vineyard is a natural extension for South Lodge as the hotel looks to amplify the guest experience following the launch of state-of-the-art eco spa in 2019 and research is underway to create an entirely unique spa treatment utilising the by product from the wine-making process, reaffirming both brand’s commitment to innovation, sustainability and minimising waste.

In the future South Lodge guests will be able to enjoy the estate’s own wine, made by the experts at Ridgeview

Danny Pecorelli, managing director of South Lodge operator Exclusive Collection said the choice to work with Ridgeview was an easy one.

“This project is more than just creating world-class sparkling wines, it is about exploring the long-term possibilities open to us when working closely with our supply chain to co-create a product from the very land our hotels are situated,” he added. “We are extremely lucky to have the expertise of Ridgeview to support us on this exciting journey.”