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UK Wine Show 33 Chris Foss, Plumpton College

This show was published 12 January 2007


Chris Foss is Head of Wine Studies at Plumpton College in Sussex. He is half-French and Bordeaux-trained. He has managed vineyards in Bordeaux, including working at Chateau d'Yquem in Sauternes.

Chris started the wine studies at Plumpton as a part-time course for English wine producers. There are now 3 full time courses and a range of part time courses. The winery is semi-commercial but, however the main interest is in education. Chris says the main crop at Plumpton is students! They learn how to grow crops and make wine with hands-on experience in the vineyard and winery.

There are 15 acres of vineyard on 3 sites plus 1 at Ditchling and 1 at Brock Lodge. In total the production is 15-20,000 bottles a year, much of it is made in small batches. Small batches allow students to experiment with different wine making techniques and with small parcels of grapes. A recent investment of £1m in a new winery and 2 laboratories for research and teaching, plus offices and event facilities, has meant that students can learn in state of the art facilities.

There are 2 types of courses on offer at Plumpton, wine trade courses and wine production courses. The students are mostly mature with an average age of 30. Of the 200 students 60 are full time, and 15% are from overseas. The college attracts international English-speaking students, partly because it is the only English speaking college in Europe and also because it teaches both old world and new world wine techniques.

Part-time intensive courses include:

EIT Certificate in Wine (Correspondence)

Foundation Degree in Wine Business

Foundation Degree in Wine Production

Plumpton Summer Winemaking Course

Principles of Vinegrowing

Principles of Winemaking

The Sensory Evaluation of Wine

The Vinegrower’s Course

The Winemaker’s Course

WSET Advanced Certificate in Wines & Spirits

WSET Diploma in Wines & Spirits

WSET Foundation Certificate in Wines, Level 1

WSET Intermediate Certificate in Wines & Spirits

Full-time courses are

Foundation Degree in Wine Business

Foundation Degree in Wine Production

Viticulture and Oenology BSc (Hons)


Chris Foss's recommended reading for the budding winemaker:

Bryce Radkin - Making Good Wines


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The UK Wine Show is sponsored by ThirtyFifty. Our team of wine tasters are busy entertaining and educating UK consumers to help them get the most out of wine.


The music used for the UK Wine Show is Griffes de Jingle 1 by Marcel de la Jartèle and Silence by Etoile Noire.

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