Winelovers are clinking their glasses in celebration as a new research facility that specialises in the beverage is set to open.

Plumpton College will be opening the UK's first dedicated wine research centre.

The £2 million project will see its grand opening with a ceremony and a visit from Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall.

The college will be also offering UK's first postgraduate course in wine making.

Graduates will spend 15 months immersed in wine physiology, chemistry, microbiology and climate studies.

Des Lambert, principal of Plumpton College said: "English winemaking is world-renowned as the one-to-watch, as we continue to beat off competition from the continent, particularly when it comes to sparkling wines.

“Research is pivotal to driving every new and exciting industry forward, and we are thrilled to open the new Research Winery, and to offer the UK's first masters in winemaking, which will see its first intake in September of this year.

"Plumpton College offers top-class research and teaching in the heartland of the burgeoning English wine industry, and we have already had scores of people interested in learning more about the postgraduate course."

The college's development is sponsored by Rathfinny Estate on the South Downs - a 600 acre vineyard in nearby Alfriston.

Mark and Sarah Driver, owners of Rathfinny Estate said: "Rathfinny is a proud sponsor of this new and exciting UK Wine Research Centre.

“Every new and exciting industry needs a strong research institution behind it, for example UCDavis is a centre of excellence for the wine industry in California, and Brighton University's Plumpton College is that centre of excellence in the cool climate wine region of England.

"English sparkling wine is now considered by many to be some of the finest sparkling wine in the world, and this new wine research centre will ensure that we are training the next generation of English wine makers."

The UK wine industry is booming and has admirers including the Duchess of Cornwall, whose father Major Bruce Shand was a vintner, and grandfather Philip Morton Shand wrote a book on winemaker.

Camilla has said before that it is her mission to find a new name in British winemaking.