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English wine producers get Defra funding

Published:  23 July, 2008

East Sussex wine producers, RidgeView, Davenport and Breaky Bottom, have received funding amounting to more than 345,000 under Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affiars (Defra) funding schemes delivered by the Rural Development Service (RDS).

The announcement comes as English wine producers prepare for English Wine Week which begins this weekend (28 May to 6 June a programme of tastings and events is available on:

RidgeView, at Ditchling Common near Burgess Hill and Brighton, was awarded a Processing and Marketing Grant (PMG) of 48,486 to extend its facilities and winery. Owned and run by Mike Roberts and his family, RidgeView boasts 20,000 vines on 16 acres. They use 13 French clones of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, on three different rootstocks to produce one of England's best sparkling wines.

There is a purpose-built 8,600 sq ft winery and a cellar capable of storing 250,000 bottles. It also makes sparkling wine for other vineyards under contract.

The PMG will be used to increase production form 50,000 to 100,000 bottles a year over the next decade.

Davenport in Rotherfield, near Uckfield, received 46,840 also from a Processing and Marketing Grant. Owned and managed by Will Davenport, who trained in Australia, he makes still and sparkling wines from the farm's own grapes and provides contract wine-making serives to 22 other vineyards.

The grant will allow Davenport to take annual production from 50,000 to 70,000 litres as well as improve efficiency and quality, reduce wastage and boost profitability.

Breaky Bottom, in Rodmell near Lewes, got a Rural Enterprise Scheme (RES) grant of nearly 13,628 so that owner Peter Hall can install a temperature-controlled wine store.