Grapes of Sussex

January 3, 1997

Wine may have featured heavily in last month's festivities. But English wine?

The image of English wine has not kept pace with the reality. It is a multi-million pound industry of up to 500 commercial vineyards, mainly in the south east. Yet the prizes won by United Kingdom vineyards are rarely trumpeted.

But this autumn Plumpton College, a large agricultural college in East Sussex, launched the first BTEC higher national diploma in wine studies.

The college has its own vineyard with several varieties of grape and its own fermentation and bottling plant. This year the college is planning a new Wine Centre to provide the students with additional resources, including extra classrooms adjoining the wine production unit.

"Plumpton College is the only college that grows its own grapes," says John Brookham, college principal.

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