The Sussex Heritage Trust Awards celebrated their 18th anniversary by inviting entries for 2016 at the Downland HQ of a previous winner.
The Rathfinny Wine Estate’s new Winery, a 2015 winner in the Awards’ commercial category, was the venue for the launch of this year’s programme. Awards chairman Dr John Godfrey DL welcomed guests including sponsors and past winners. He said: “I believe the Rathfinny Estate has so far won three Trust awards so it is ideally suited to host this launch and the setting is bound to impress.”
He explained that in the 2015 Award judges said of Rathfinny: ‘A beautifully executed project from design detail to construction which blends sympathetically with its environment. It deserves universal praise.”
Other 2015 winners ranged from the King’s Road Arches in Brighton to the RENEW project at Chichester Festival Theatre and a Grade I listed Norman church at Pyecombe to the gardens at St Wilfrid’s Hospice, Eastbourne. And Dr Godfrey invited Sussex builders, craftsmen, architects and designers - individuals and specific projects - to showcase their work by entering the Awards. Mark Driver, Rathfinny owner, thanked guests for coming and described how more than a million bottles of wine is capable of being processed in cellars below the Winery where the reception was held.
The 72 hectare vineyard is the biggest in the UK and grapes pressed, fermented and bottled on site in Sussex will be used to construct mainly sparkling whites, roses and some still white wines. He described the hard work involved in caring for the vines with pruning just finished and new shoots now coming through. Grapes include Blanc de Blancs, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinor Meunier.
The first sparkling vintage will be ready in 2018. When the vineyard was first planted at the start of the decade he invited Alfriston residents to ‘adopt’ their own vine and provided name tags for them to claim involvement in the project. In the meantime he, together with fellow Sussex winemakers, are working to establish protected designation of origin status for the county’s wines which involves ensuring the highest standards of wine production. It would mean a glass of Sussex sparkling must be produced in the county and adhere to the standards set.
Dr Godfrey praised sponsors of the Awards including a new ‘Platinum’ category applied to Gatwick Airport. Others on board include Lewes lawyers Adams and Remers, Covers, Expert Insurance Group, brewers Harveys, The Ian Askew Charitable Trust, The Ernest Kleinwort Charitable Trust, Lawson Commercial, the Lund Trust, Savills, R W Armstrong and of course, media partner Sussex Newspapers. In this 18th year, to mark the ‘key to the door’ anniversary, the Awards include for the first time a mid-scale residential category for from two to 10 units. Small scale remains for one house and large scale for 11-homes upwards.The winners of the 2016 awards will be announced on Thursday, July 7 at 12.340pm at Pangdean Old Barn, London Road, Pyecombe and presented by the President of Sussex Heritage Trust, The Rt Hon Lord Egremont. Deadline for entries is Friday, April 8 and judging takes place on Wednesday and Thursday, May 18 and 19.
The Awards presentation will be held on July 7.For more information or an entry pack please contact the Sussex Heritage Trust office on 01243 576524 or firstname.lastname@example.org