Winemaker guru Christopher Ann loses cancer fight


Christopher “Topper” Ann, a pioneer of the English wine industry and former owner of the English Wine Centre at Alfriston, died peacefully earlier this month at the age of 70.

Following a family burial, a thanksgiving service will be held at St Michael and All Angels Church, Berwick, at 2.30pm on July 2.

Christopher was born in the Cuckmere Valley and in 1967, with his brother Michael, established the Valley Wine Cellars. In 1972 it became The English Wine Centre and in the same year Christopher planted the centre’s experimental vineyard. In the 1970s Christopher started the Great English Wine Run in light-hearted opposition to the indifferent Beaujolais Nouveau brought over from France.

A founder chairman of the Weald and Downland Vineyards Association, in 1989 he formed A Taste of Sussex to promote local food and drink. Christopher lived in the Cuckmere Valley with his wife Wendy until 2007, when they retired to Cornwall after selling the wine centre. Last year he was diagnosed with cancer, but was determined not to miss the wine festival and paid a memorable flying visit when film and TV pilot Marc Wolff flew him down from Cornwall.

Family flowers only with donations to Mt Edgcumbe Hospice in Cornwall.