A WINE estate is welcoming back visitors for tours and tastings from today in its stunning spot on the edge of the South Downs.
Julie Bretland and Mark Collins, founders of boutique wine estate Artelium, have been busy preparing to reopen their vineyards in Streat, near Ditchling, for wine tours, following months of lockdown.
The pair launched their first sparkling wines earlier this year – the Curators Cuvée 2014, at £32, and the Makers Rosé 2015, at £35, both produced in collaboration with celebrated winemaker, Dermot Sugrue.
But they have lots to look forward to this spring, with the launch of their first still wines and the emergence from lockdown, which means they can host guests on their Cellar Door terraces for tastings.
Mark said: “It’s an ideal time to be bringing the wines to market but also to be bringing new visitors here for the first time as we take our first steps out of lockdown.
Mark and Julie, founders of Artelium
“We did run a few tours last September and October and we’ve used the time in lockdown to get our tasting room ready.
“We have plenty of space on our two terraces and can open as a public bar on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
“We are blessed to be in a stunning location at the foothill of the South Downs – Ditchling Beacon is right in front of us.
“There are great views and we are really looking forward to having visitors come and taste the wines and experience the location.”
Next month, Artelium will launch a range of white and rosé still wines and in June there will be two more sparking wines added to its shop, a blanc du blanc and blanc du noir.
Mark believes this year will present a great opportunity for Sussex vineyards, as people are expected to be looking for outdoor activities and staycations due to the pandemic.
He said: “I think it’s going to be a really good year for our wine tourism.
“People are going to want outdoor experiences and it will be a great opportunity for Sussex vineyards to show of their produce to new audiences, and for those people to discover it as a wine region.
“Last summer we had groups of six, some of whom were international travellers living in London who would normally have gone abroad for wine travel and they were really surprised and impressed with what they saw here.
“It’s an exciting time.”
Artelium reopens today with advance bookings only, with tours running at 2.30pm on Thursday and Friday and 11.30am and 2.30pm on Saturday.
From May 1 people will be able to drop in for a drink on the terrace, and Artelium will be open from 11.30am until 8pm on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays for tours and tastings.
Mark said he has a busy weekend ahead.
He said: “It’s definitely not a slow start.
“To celebrate our opening weekend we’re also offering a discount of ten per cent of all wines on our website. (excluding the wine subscription).
“With wine projects you have to be patient and we have put in a lot of work – we can’t wait to welcome people.”
Find out more at artelium.com.