Sussex’s Roebuck Estates, which is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, has launched its Roebuck Viticulture Academy – a three-day vineyard training programme available exclusively to its trade partners.

Established in 2013, the multi-site vineyard owner released its first sparkling wine in 2019 and has always had a clear vision: to make classically crafted vintage sparkling wines every single year from its estate-grown fruit.  Roebuck owns and manages 60 hectares of vineyards throughout Sussex and Kent with each vineyard site planted with carefully selected clones and varieties best suited to the soil.

Every year, Roebuck will now offer its trade partners the chance to join Head Viticulturalist Jake Wicks and his vineyard team during the growing season to gain an immersive, hands-on experience at the most important stages of the viticultural calendar.  The programme consists of three one-day workshops focusing on the technical aspects of pruning, canopy management, grape berry analysis and harvesting.

Michael Kennedy, CEO at Roebuck Estates, comments, “We believe the quality of the wine in your glass starts with viticulture and for the past decade we have invested heavily in our vineyards, ensuring that we have established the finest sites which are producing the very best fruit for our vintage sparkling wines.  We are also incredibly fortunate to have a vineyard team made up of highly qualified viticulturalists who have worked all over the world.”

He adds, “By sharing our expertise, we aim to provide our partners with an in-depth insight into the skill, craftsmanship and technical knowledge needed to produce wonderfully individual sparkling wines, every single year.”

Roebuck’s Head of Viticulture, Jake Wicks, will lead the Academy, covering class-based theory sessions plus practical experience working with the Roebuck team in its vineyards close to Petworth in West Sussex.

Jake says: “Our Viticulture Academy got off to a fantastic start last week.  The pruning workshop was attended by a very talented group of sommeliers from some of the finest restaurants and hotels in the country including Bacchanalia, Mandarin Oriental and Noble Rot.  The course’s aim is to rapidly accelerate their knowledge of viticulture in the UK, allocating them their own Pinot Noir vines to nurture and follow throughout the 2023 growing season.  Our next workshop in July will focus on canopy management techniques, looking at how we improve grapevine balance and optimise fruit quality.  And then… harvest!”

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