Christine & Michael Roberts|
Ridgeview Estate Fragbarrow Lane
West Sussex BN6 8TP
Telephone: 4401444 241441
Ridge View Estate is just 1.5 miles north of the highest point on the Sussex Downs - Ditchling Beacon. The whole estate runs to 30 acres and was planted on a low ridge of paludina Limestone over a sandstone bed. On top of this the soils are silty clay loam with silty clay subsoil derived from Weald clay alluvial drift material. To counter this heavy soil, 10k of field drains have been put in. In May 1995 20,000 vines were planted - various clones of all of the classic varieties needed for high quality Sparkling Wine. These are all of the same type that are planted in the Champagne, and were planted with the advice of the experts in Epernay
The Winery is purpose built on site and includes an underground cellar with a capacity of 150,000 bottles. This will provide space for maturation - up to 10 years for the best vintages. The 44 stainless steel tanks will allow the fermentation of each clone separately in small batches, thus optimising the ability to blend for subtle variations.
The Merret MethodRidgeview goes from strength to strength and is now rated as one of the top sparkling wines in Europe. Sadly, they are not allowed to call it Champagne, despite the fact that an Englishman, Christopher Merret, invented the sparkling wine process. In 1662 he presented a paper to the Royal Society describing the method by which bottle fermented (second fermentation) sparkling wine should be produced. The only reason that it became known as champagne is that the base wine came in barrels from that region of France. Today, the term 'Methode Merret' has been registered by Ridgeview.