This year’s 1066 Wine and Food Festival got off to a bubbling start when famous wine critic and popular TV presenter Jilly Goolden opened the event in Battle.
The two-week long celebration of local producers began with a sparkling wine reception with canapés and music from Battle Abbey School pupils at Battle Abbey on Saturday, May 14.
Organiser Ken Maitland said: “In the 950th anniversary year of the Battle of Hastings, we are delighted that English Heritage allowed us to use of the novices quarters to launch the festival.
“Battle Abbey School provided suitable musical entertainment to enhance the occasion in tune with the ambience of this significant site.
“Jilly Goolden is an immensely knowledgeable and entertaining presenter with a wealth of experience in the field of English sparkling wine.
“We are very lucky in 1066 Country that we are at the heart of English wine country whose output is being recognised as world quality.
“Our traditional method sparkling wine is made in the same way and from the same grapes as Champagne, and regularly wins international prizes in competition with the world’s best sparkling wine – including Champagne.”
Huw Merriman, MP for Bexhill and Battle also spoke about the current success of English wines and the tourism, economic and employment opportunities the industry was bringing to 1066 Country.
The two-week long festival has seen promotions and tastings from a number of wineries, restaurants and wine merchants throughout the area.
Last weekend a fair at the De La Warr Pavilion on Sunday (May 22) saw more than a thousand people come to enjoy samples of food and drink.
This Sunday (May 29) the festival closes with a finale event in St Mary-in-the-Castle in Hastings with a pop-up wine bar featuring wines from around the world chosen by wine experts plus music from Stax of Motown.
Everyone will be given a free taste of quality English sparkling wine and there will some light-hearted competitions around wine with appropriate prizes.
Tickets are available from the Hastings Tourist Information Centre and online from www.1066wineandfoodfestival.com, priced at £15.
The festival is being organised on a non-commercial basis by volunteers. Any surplus from events will go to local causes, such as the foodbanks.
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