Entrepreneur launches UK's first golf and wine estate
Mannings Heath Golf Club & Wine Estate has begun planting 38,000 vines to create England’s newest vineyard, with wines expected to be available in 2023.
The new vineyard on the 500 parkland acre site, based in Horsham, West Sussex, has a combination of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier grapes for the production of English sparkling wines, using the traditional Champagne-style method.
The Mannings Heath site was purchased by Zimbabwe-born Penny Streeter OBE last year. Streeter, who also owns the Benguela Cove Wine Estate in South Africa, chose Mannings Heath with the aim of developing the UK’s first golf and wine estate. One of the club’s two 18-hole courses was converted to nine holes last year, to make space to cultivate the new vineyard.
“We are recreating a South African-style wine tourism experience, where people can enjoy a day out in a beautiful parkland estate with fine wines, good food and an events programme.”
The 100 year-old clubhouse at the venue features a new restaurant and wine tasting bar, which will host wine-themed events including food pairings with chocolate and cheese, open to the public all year round.
Viticulturalist Duncan McNeil is managing the planting of 38,000 vines on the 20-acre site.
He said: “The limiting factor in UK viticulture is lack of heat; the location was selected for its steep slope, sheltered from the prevailing south-westerly winds, to maximise the intensity of the sun’s rays. The soil is deep silty, sandy loam over a sandstone subsoil, which will encourage a full expression of fruit flavours as the grapes develop.”
In 2018 the company will plant a further 16,000 vines to produce Chardonnay grapes, for a total planned production of 150 tonnes in 2020, processed in a new winery that is planned on site. The first sparkling wines will be ready 2023.
In South Africa, the Benguela Cove estate produces a range of award-winning wines from Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Semillon, Viognier, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Pinot Noir, Malbec and Mouvedre grapes.