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Wine of the month: Everflyht takes off with stunning debut fizz

The family-run wine estate in Ditchling, East Sussex, has released a duo of premium sparkling wines

The English wine world is a fast moving one, with new vineyards offering exciting wines continually popping up and down the country.

One of the latest to pop up in Sussex – arguably the homeland of English wine – is Everflyht, a small family-run wine estate in the picturesque village of Ditchling. And their debut offerings, a Sparkling Brut NV and a Sparkling Rosé de Saignée 2019 are certainly worth shouting about.

Ben and Sam Ellis

The premium wines have been made from small parcels of fruit grown on the single vineyard estate in the heart of the South Downs. The ten-hectare estate was established with initial plantings of the traditional three English sparkling wine varietals – Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier – in 2016, followed by Pinot Gris, Pinot Précoce and Gamay in 2021 in view of making still wines further down the line.

Owners Sam and Ben Ellis, who bought the estate in 2015 and won the Sussex Heritage Award in 2020 for the house they designed and built on the site, play a hands-on role in the vineyard alongside general manager, Luke Spalding (previously of Ridgeview), while the sparkling wines have been made under the watchful eye of Félix Gabillet at Hambledon in Hampshire.

The Wines: Everyflyht Sparkling Brut NV and Sparkling Rosé de Saignée 2019

Their Brut Sparkling NV, £28, is an equal 47% blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, with a small percentage of Pinot Meunier added for structure and complexity. A portion of the blend has spent time in old and new oak “to bring the best from each variety and block” while 20 months of lees ageing has helped add a robustness that can sometimes be lacking in this style of wine.

But it is the Rosé de Saignée 2019, a fruit forward blend of 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Pinot Meunier, which as Sam points out is “a departure from some of the lighter, paler styles of Saignée on the market, providing an interesting contrast to recent trends,” that really stands out. A portion of the blend has been matured on lees in old oak barrels, which adds to the depth, character and finesse of the wine, resulting in a beautiful pink sparkling that is more than worth its £40 price tag.

From the beautifully sleek bottles and branding to the elegant wines inside, Everflyght have somehow managed to get everything just right with these debut releases. Clearly their company motto, ‘never settle’, which is embossed on the inside of the bottle packaging, runs through their veins.

We can’t wait to see what Ben, Sam and the team come up with next – a late release and a Blanc de Noirs are due to be added to the portfolio in 2023/24. Unfortunately, the estate isn’t open to the general public but access to tastings and special events can be obtained through membership of their Murmuration wine club and the wines can be purchased online at