Leaders in the thriving English sparkling wine industry, Ridgeview were delighted to welcome the Duchess of Cornwall for a tour of their Estate, whilst on her Royal visit to the county of East Sussex. The team at Ridgeview, established by the Roberts family were incredibly proud to welcome Her Royal Highness, especially to celebrate their recent success of being crowned ‘Best International Winemaker’ in the International Wine and Spirit Competition.
The Duchess of Cornwall, President of Wines of Great Britain since 2011, has a close connection to wine beginning through her father, Major Bruce Shand, who was a wine merchant. Her Royal Highness commented “Can I say what a huge pleasure it is to be here today. Not just that it has bought me back to Sussex, bought me back to Ditchling, where I used to be at school … but one of my hugest pleasures is being President of Wines of GB”
Her Royal Highness was able to see the progress at Ridgeview’s new £1.8m winery which will enable the growing company to double production in order to keep up with demand. Representatives from Trinder architects and Axio Builders were in attendance as well as Clydesdale Bank who are supporting the project alongside joint funding from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development. With a focus on sustainability, the new purpose-built underground cellar capacity will enable Ridgeview to store up to £1m bottles in perfect conditions.
Ridgeview CEO Tamara Roberts had the pleasure to show the Duchess of Cornwall around the winery, introducing Her Royal Highness to members of the Ridgeview team and invited guests from trade and industry that have supported Ridgeview’s growth over the last 24 years: “We are delighted to be included in the Royal visit to East Sussex which is testament to the ever-increasing profile of English sparkling wine and Ridgeview’s prominent position within the industry.”
The Duchess of Cornwall made a welcome return to the county of East Sussex, since attending school in Plumpton and having fond memories of the area of Ditchling. The Royal engagements in East Sussex included a visit to Jamie’s Farm, Charleston House, Amex Community Stadium for the Sussex Women’s lunch before concluding at Ridgeview. The occasion was also a great moment for Ridgeview to honour the retirement of Chris Foss founder of local Plumpton Wine College’s Wine Division. The industry are grateful for Chris’s tireless efforts on improving English wine education and training for the past 31 years.
The Royal visit was a fabulous moment to celebrate the amazing 2018 harvest for English and Welsh wines, with a record-breaking 15.6 million bottles produced. Exports of English wine have doubled in the last 12 months, now exported to 40 different countries around the world. Ridgeview’s Head Winemaker Simon Roberts has just returned from a successful trip across the USA including a tasting a Google Headquarters in San Francisco and attending the Effervescence LA conference alongside other leading global sparkling wine makers, celebrating Ridgeview’s status as ‘International Winemakers of the Year’ by the IWSC, a first in the history of English Wine.
Simon Roberts, Ridgeview Head Winemaker commented: “We were very honoured to have our Patron, the Duchess of Cornwall visit the winery and meet our fantastic team who felt very privileged. It was great to invite many of our long-term supporters to celebrate our amazing day together”.
Ridgeview were thrilled that their status as pioneers in the historical rise of English sparkling wine was acknowledged with such a prestigious visit by Her Royal Highness, the Duchess of Cornwall.