Luxury Sussex hotel and spa, South Lodge will soon become the latest vineyard hotel within the UK as it plants 19,500 vines in May in collaboration with local vineyard and long-time partner, Ridgeview. The announcement follows swiftly after Exclusive Collection’s certification as B Corp and forms part of their wider commitment to pursuing purpose, in the form of both social and environmental goals, as well as economic growth. Ridgeview is also currently going through a rigorous process to achieve B Corp status.
Exclusive Collection Managing Director, Danny Pecorelli commented: “Despite being a long-term partner, Ridgeview’s growing legacy of producing exemplary sparkling wine for over 25 years coupled with operating as a true family-run business with strong sustainability pillars of people, environment and economics made the partnership choice quite simply, easy. Our visions are so well aligned in the wake of our recent B Corp accreditation that this project is more than just creating world-class sparkling wines, it is about exploring the long-term possibilities open to us when working closely with our supply chain to co-create a product from the very land our hotels are situated. We are extremely lucky to have the expertise of Ridgeview to support us on this exciting journey.”
Ridgeview CEO, Tamara Roberts commented: “It is a rare privilege to be working with another family-led company who shares so many of our strongly held values and our vision for the future responsibilities of businesses to do the right thing socially, economically and environmentally. The opportunity to work with the Executive team on their ambitious and exciting vineyard project could not have come at a better time for Ridgeview as our next phase of investment to double our production capacity is now underway. Guests across the Exclusive properties will be able to enjoy a unique, estate-grown vintage sparkling wine which we have no doubt will be among the finest in England when ready for release. We can’t wait to open a bottle and celebrate our partnership with the Exclusive team in a few years’ time!”
Spanning six hectares across two plantings, both south-facing and with excellent drainage, the vineyard will include Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grape varieties, with the ultimate aim of producing some of the finest English sparkling wine in the South East of England. However, it will be two years before any grapes begin appearing as the vines establish themselves in their new surroundings.
At optimum, it is anticipated that 30,000 bottles of English sparkling wine will be produced from the vines, with the wine-making process firmly in the hands of the skilled team at Ridgeview. Once the vineyard is fully established, around 10,000 bottles will be produced solely for South Lodge and the wider Exclusive Collection and will be made available to enjoy and purchase from the hotels directly.
The planting of the vineyard is a natural extension for South Lodge as the hotel looks to amplify the guest experience following the launch of a state-of-the-art eco spa in 2019 and the arrival of the tennis courts earlier this year. It also goes hand-in-hand with the remarkable dining offerings found at the hotel including Botanica, Camelia, The Billiard Bar and The Pass. The hotel is currently home to the Ridgeview Beauty Bar offering manicures, pedicures and make-up experiences and research is underway to create an entirely unique spa treatment utilising the by-product from the wine-making process, reaffirming both brand’s commitment to innovation, sustainability and minimising waste.