News: Ridgeview Delights

Posted on 19th June 2019

On Tuesday this week we held our ‘annual’ event at Ridgeview Wine Estate. The weather was rather inclement, unfortunately, and indeed it was raining steadily when I arrive at 4.15. However, undaunted by such minor difficulties, we all contrived to enjoy a splendid couple of hours looking, listening, learning and then imbibing small amounts of delicious sparkling wine.

No doubt partly because of the threat of rain, a number of people failed to arrive for the 5pm start.  Esther Dawson led the tour and took us first out to the vines. An attentive group of around 25 members listened as she took us through the grape production process from planting to harvesting. The vines were planted by Michael Roberts in 1995 after buying a piece of land to occupy himself in a ‘hobby’.  It is a great story. He and his wife, the parents of current owners Tamara and Simon, established this vineyard which has since then led to great rewards in a very successful business.

Subsequently many people in southern England have followed and thus established the production of English wine. Michael was one of the pioneers I suppose one could say. He actually came to speak to members at a BHBPA exhibition many years ago now, to tell the story of his hobby. Since he passed on Tamara and Simon have led the company to incredible success.  What is noticeable is that they are still terrifically grounded and able to laugh at themselves despite having a fiercely competitive nature.

We went inside and listened as Estie showed her great knowledge of wine production and the many processes involved. The company is in the middle of a very large increase in production capacity; the new building which is in progress on the site has a cellar equally large beneath it. In total they will be able to store one million bottles of sparkling wine in that building eventually.

Of course, the whole business is very much dependent upon the weather, which causes them to have good years and less good years. The summer of 2012 was one they particularly remember as being a bad one for the grapes. A small display shelf in the tasting room displayed some of the many trophies the company has won over the last ten years. The most prestigious and important one was there – International Winemaker of the Year 2018.

We tasted several different wines and listened as Tamara described tastes and the subtle differences between them, A small display shelf in the tasting room displayed some of the many trophies the company has won over the last ten years. The most prestigious and important one was there – International Winemaker of the Year 2018.

After two hours in very pleasant company we gradually left for home. My thanks once again to Tamara and the Ridgeview family for hosting the event, to all those who came along and to Esther for her excellent tour guidance. As always, it was noticeable that the members were unfailingly inclusive, enthusiastic and courteous – a great bunch of people.

Back to News ›


"The BHBPA is an energetic and vocal organisation that connects and empowers and informs the local business community acting as an effective conduit to local authority and other organisations. We are proud to be part of that community and the association."

Nick Broom, Managing Director
(PVL UK Ltd)

"“I have belonged to this group since I started my own business, Lea Graham Associates, in 1986. The association has been through several incarnations since then, but its most recent one, BHBPA, is by far the best.

It’s much more than just a networking group, although it is supremely good at that too. BHBPA is inclusive and friendly and acts like a mutual-support society. The events are stimulating, worthwhile and often great fun and I believe most members share this opinion.”"

Susan Fleet, Managing Director
(Lea Graham Associates)

"The BHBPA is a fantastic hub for our business community to get together and catch up, discuss important local issues and connect new and interesting enterprises."

Oliver Lashley , Director
(Pure Storm Digital Services )

"“Sutton Winson have been members of the BHBPA for around 7 years. We have found it a great way to keep in touch with Burgess Hill businesses and to meet with likeminded people. It’s not just another “networking” group, as it tackles the real issues and gets things done”"

Bruce Millington, Manager
(Sutton Winson Ltd)