‘Sussex’ may soon become a name as familiar as Burgundy or Champagne if English wine makers have their way.
Sussex wine producers are planning to apply for Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status across the EU meaning that any wine labeled ‘Sussex’ would have to be made in the area and adhere to certain standards.
Jamie Everett, the chief operating officer of Rathfinny wine estate which is leading the campaign, said: “We hope that in time people in a bar in China or Hong Kong will ask the bartender for a glass of Sussex.”
The proposed geographical indication will apply to both still and sparkling wine. However, if the application is successful Sussex sparkling wine would have to change to have a higher minimum alcohol content and longer lees aging – 15 months in the bottle, like Champagne.
Since 2011 English wine had had PDO status. However, the restrictions on wines that can be labeled ‘English wine’ are not as specific. In fact, the production of English wine can even take place in Scotland or Wales.
Other UK products that have protected status include Jersey Royal potatoes and Cornish clotted cream.