Real Natural English Wine
Head down to rural East Sussex, UK for your chance to meet one of the UK's true eco-pioneers. Not only the first Englishman to plant an organic vineyard, but as of late 2010, Roy and Irma Cook's vineyard at Sedlescombe is home to the UK's first biodynamic, natural wine vineyard. Natural, or Real wines have gained in popularity in recent years. These are wines that are fermented using wild yeasts and have minimum levels of sulphite preservative. The finest examples of these wines are those which are certified biodynamic, because that way you know that the grapes have been grown organically as well! Which is a far better situation than with wines which claim to be 'natural' or 'real' but have no independent certification to support their claim.
Having gained experience abroad, Roy and Irma Cook took the plunge in the late 1970s and established Sedlescombe. They now own 23 acres in a few plots including the original 10-acre south-facing plot by their friendly visitor centre and shop. Here you'll find many of the original Germanic grape varieties which began the English wine renaissance.
Designed so that the vineyards are in tune with the earth cosmic rhythms, the biodynamic conversion was completed in just one summer because the vineyards were already certified organic.
Following the success of the early partial cuveé wild yeast fermentations Sedlescombe's wine making owner Roy Cook has gained confidence with this method, and uses it exclusively rejecting bought in yeasts entirely. "The advantage is that the wines are an even truer reflection of their 'terroir' and display along with their uniqueness a greater complexity than before", says Roy.
Their aptly named 'First Release' was the UK's first biodyanmic Real wine. A Dry White, which appeared in December 2010. With Their 'Bodiam Harvest' (medium-dry) and 'Regent' red appearing in 2011 and the first English Natural sparkling wine, their 2010 Premier Brut appearing in 2012.
If you're wondering when to visit, try May and don't miss the bluebells in the woodland walk. Whether you choose the self-guided tour or join up with a group, all visits end with a tutored tasting of a selection of Sedlescombe wines, fruit juices and liqueurs. Nearby there's the delights of Bodiam Castle for the young and those young at heart. Often used in films, the vineyard, which Sedlescombe has managed there since 1994, stretch down to its borders.
To explore these International Award Winning Real Wines just click the links 'WINES' above left.