The world is invited to visit Ashling Park’s wine paradise.
With stays in scenic lodges now added to its vineyard tours and tastings, English wine maker Ashling Park is in the pink, like the bubbles rising in a glass of its prize-winning sparkling rosé. The company launched its first bottles in 2017 while overlooking the natural splendors of the South Downs National Park in West Sussex, where the chalky soil is good terrain for grape farming.
It is part of a new wave that represents English wine’s continued resurrection and the respect it now enjoys as a result of investment, innovation, and a changing climate.
Far from being a frothy lightweight, Ashling Park’s beguilingly sophisticated and grown-up rosé is the ideal summer crush, and both it and its sister white, the Park Brut, have been praised for their quality and adorned with prizes.
“I wanted to show off the estate’s wow features and create a wine wonderland, but steer away from any intimidating wine snobbery,” says owner and marketing guru Gail Gardner, who built the business on family land. Drinking our wines is, above all, about having a good time.”
However, behind the merry cork bursting is the vineyard’s winemaker, Dermot Sugrue, and a plethora of skilled workers.
In terms of grape variety balance in the sparkling, there is less sweet chardonnay and more pinot noir, and Ashling Park has spent a lot of time aging the wine with yeast particles called lees, which nurture rich, creamy flavors.
“Our Cuvee wine has been on the lees for seven years, which is one of the longest on the market,” Gardner explains. “It’s from there that we get our rounded, balanced wine with overtones of soft brioche.”
Sugrue notes, “For many years, we’ve been focused on establishing a line that represents what England is currently capable of: making rich, delicious, and most importantly mature sparkling wines at the top of their growth.”
“They stand out among their contemporaries because of their combination of freshness and maturity. Few vineyards have reaped the benefits of their patience as well as we have.”
It takes just over a year from harvest to bottle, and the 50-acre vineyard produces roughly 40,000 bottles each year on average.
The Three Chimneys on Skye and the National Trust’s Clivedon House sell directly online and through independent stores, hotels, and restaurants.
But, while the wine is the main attraction, the “Brinkwire Summary News” is a must-read.