Vine times: grand plans for wine tourism in Sussex

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Brilliant tipples are not all the county’s rapidly developing wine scene has to offer, as vineyards add festivals, art exhibitions and cool places to stay

It has the same chalky soil as the Champagne region and its wine has the same protected status – and often beats French fizz in blind tastings. Now Sussex has launched a plan to attract many more visitors to its 138 vineyards, aiming to increase the value of wine tourism from £25m today to £283m by 2040.

Sussex has 888 hectares of vineyards, or 25.5% of the British land under vine, second only to Kent at 29.6%. But according to the authors of the growth plan – the tourism development agency Sussex Modern and the Sussex Visitor Economy Initiative – there are 40,000 hectares of land suitable for grapes available, giving the county enormous growth potential.

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