In the lea of the South Downs, in Ditchling, East Sussex, Court Gardens Farm has a long history of farming. In Saxon times the farm was known as the Manor of Ditchling Garden, from the middle ages to the reformation it was held by the monks at the priory in Lewes. After a short spell owned by the crown the farm became known as Court Garden. The farm appears on one of the earliest maps of Sussex, Yeakell and Gardner’s map of 1778-1783, just to the north of Ditchling. Not much has changed in the landscape since then.
The vineyard was established in the spring of 2005 on a beautiful south-facing slope with the South Downs as a backdrop, and is now one of the more charming vineyards in England. The family run single-estate vineyard now extends to 17 acres, mainly planted with the three classic varieties of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier for the production of Sparkling Wine, and also Pinot Gris, Ortega, Rondo and Pinot Blanc for use in still wine. Two rare old Champagne varieties of Arbanne and Petit Meslier are grown as well.
Sussex shares similar geology to north-east France, the chalk of the downs runs beneath the Channel into the Champagne region. In Sussex we have a more maritime climate which is perfect for the production of sparkling wine.