Plumpton College

Ditchling Road
East Sussex BN7 3AE
Tel: +44 (0) 127390 434
College web site


Plumpton is the main training college for viticultural courses in the UK. Its alumni reads like a Who's Who of the industry and includes Owen Elias, chief winemaker of Chapel Down, and Dermot Sugrue of Nyetimber.

Among its courses is a One-day intensive workshop on wine production


  • To introduce students from a wine trade or catering background to the basics of wine production in a relevant, interesting and practical way.


    By the end of the day, the student should be able to:
  • Briefly describe the major tasks in a vinegrower's year
  • List the major viticultural factors that most influence wine quality
  • Perform a basic manual task in the vineyard
  • Briefly describe the major steps in the winemaking process
  • List the winemaking processes that most influence wine flavour
  • Perform a basic manual task in the winery.
  • A tutored tasting of the major components of wine and their interactions can also be included if required.
    Full details of other courses are available on the college's own web site
  • Wines

    In addition to wine courses, the college produces award winning wines which are available from the college and from local retailers. Full details of available wines
    Below is the harvest report for 2005

    The grape harvest on the college estate started on October 10th with Regner and Triomphe, extending to 3rd November for the final loads of Seyval Blanc. Despite early forecasts of low yields, the crop was eventually equal to previous previous good vintages. The College Estate vineyards (6 hectares) yielded 16.5 tonnes, with a further 3 tonnes bought in. The final improvement on yield arose from a very good crop of Seyval Blanc. Some excellent quality fruit was harvested initially, particularly Pinot Noir and aromatic white varieties such as Ortega, Bacchus & Schonburger. However, as the vintage progressed, the weather conditions became increasingly wet and humid. Consequently, there was an increase in the level of Botrytis, especially for the Muller Thurgau, necessitating strict selection in the vineyard. In order to optimise quality, all varieties were lightly pressed, especially those destined for sparkling wine production (Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Seyval Blanc), where the bunches were pressed whole. The harvested fruit yielded 12,500 litres of must which, after clarification, led to a final total of juice for fermentation of about 11,000 litres. The red fruits (Early Pinot and Dornfelder) were given gentle pump-overs and short skin contacts to optimise their soft fruit character. These wines will mature in oak. The aromatic whites will receive some lees ageing, and the sparkling base will undergo the malo-lactic fermentation.

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