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Sussex wine closer to joining Champagne in Europe’s elite club

Sussex sparkling wine has climbed the next rung of the ladder to protected name status, but its application for EU-wide name rights may overrun the timeline set out for Brexit by the UK government.

Britain’s agriculture ministry has put forward the application for Sussex wine to get PDO status in the European Union’s Geographic Indication (GI) scheme.

Sussex enjoys temporary protection within the UK in the interim, according to producers.

But these are contradictory times; the application was conceived before Brexit but is being put forward by a government also seeking to chart a course out of the European Union.

Supporters of the Sussex plan dream of creating a regional brand with the pull of Champagne.

‘We believe that Sussex will become synonymous with high quality sparkling and still wine,’ said Mark Driver, founder of Rathfinny Wine Estate.

‘So when you go into a bar in London or Tokyo you will be asked – would you like a glass of Champagne or a delicious glass of Sussex?’

Several English wine producers outside of Sussex have said it would be better to promote English wine as a whole, over individual regions.

Approval at EU level often takes several years to achieve, a spokesperson for English Wine Producers told Decanter.com.

England’s Camel Valley is still waiting for a PDO application for its Darnibole vineyard in Cornwall to be ratified by EU member states, according English Wine Producers. It applied in 2012.

Brexit adds an extra complication, following the 23 June referendum in the UK.

British prime minister Theresa May has committed to starting the two-year leaving process next year.

English Wine Producers said it was still considering the possible effects of Brexit on the industry and would release a statement soon.

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