THE wine industry in Sussex continues to go from strength to strength with in excess of 70 vineyards now producing across the county. Nick Mosley talks to Dermot Sugrue, head winemaker at Wiston Estate, about its much anticipated new release.

Sussex wineries are scooping up international awards for a reason – our homegrown wine industry is producing some exceptional wines that are standing up to established growing regions around the world.

Wiston Estate, on a south-facing chalk slope near Pulborough, is a perfect example of this innovation and expertise, exemplified by the launch this week of its Cuvée 2013 in a 1.5 litre magnum, a bottle size that is rare from an English wine producer.

The same wine, made from premium grapes grown on the estate, was released in a standard 75cl bottle in 2017 and went on to be awarded Best UK Sparkling Wine in the Decanter World Wine Awards 2017, the English Sparkling Wine Trophy in the International Wine and Spirit Competition 2017 and selected by Decanter Magazine to be in its Top 25 Most Exciting Wines in the World 2017.

There is much excitement about this new magnum that has had five years ageing on the lees – meaning the leftover yeast after the fermentation process are left in the bottle to develop the depth of flavour – and a further year on cork.

In the sparkling wine world, magnums are looked on favourably as the longer ageing required creates a more complex and nuanced wine.

Magnums also tend to age better so you can keep them longer with the knowledge they will get better over time.

“I have tried to hoard away these magnums of 2013 Cuvée like some devious wine-hiding rascal since bottling 1,000 of them in July 2014,” said


“At fridge temperature it was just gloriously refreshing but then as it started to warm up in the glass it slowly became eye-opening, then astonishing, then utterly compelling and then simply transcendental.”

“This 2013 Wiston Estate Cuvée in Magnum is a monumentally complete wine of such depth and drive and full-fruited focus that we all just gawped at each other in wonder at what we had helped create seven years ago.”

Some of the biggest – and most respected – names in the UK wine world who have had a preview of the magnum concur.

“Dermot – the wild Irish wine wizard – has weaved magic spells with this deep, thoughtful, spice and brioche crust beauty,” said broadcaster and writer Oz Clarke.

Daily Mail wine writer and BBC Saturday Morning Kitchen regular Olly Smith agreed, saying: “This is huge news – a future icon for English fizz: rich, poised, electrifying.”

The Wiston Estate Cuvée 2013 Magnum is available to buy directly from the vineyard and vintners including Hennings Wine Merchants in Pulborough and South Down Cellars in Hurstpierpoint and Lindfield.