Over the summer and particularly in this hot weather, many of us will enjoy a drink or two during a summer’s evening. With this in mind it is great to know that earlier this year, Sussex wine was designated as a UK Geographical Indication (GI).
Following our departure from the EU, the UK introduced new GI schemes for agri-food products, spirit drinks, wines and aromatised wines.
The GI will cover Sussex sparkling, still and origin wines, with this status providing a guarantee to consumers that the product they are buying is the real thing and not an imitation.
This new recognition means that Sussex wine joins the range of Protected Designation of Origin and Protected Geographical Indication registered products from the UK and beyond. This will assist Sussex wine producers highlight the quality of their drink, and join the range of special products which includes Scotch Whisky, Welsh Lamb and Herefordshire Cider.
Our county has a long and distinguished history and is one of England’s oldest, with the Kingdom of Sussex being established in 477 AD.
While the county was divided into West and East centuries ago, it was not until my tenure as Leader of West Sussex County Council that 16th June was designated as Sussex Day: an appropriate way to celebrate will be to enjoy a glass of Sussex’s finest!
Shortly before the designation of Sussex wine, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) unveiled a new strategy to drive innovation and best utilise pioneering technology in farming.
For example, this country only produces 15 per cent of tomatoes supplied domestically, however technology such as sustainable and efficient glasshouses offer new opportunities which will help Britain reduce reliance on overseas production.
Enhancing UK food security also needs to be bolstered, particularly as a result of Russia’s illegal war against Ukraine.
Government has also confirmed that next year it will hold a consultation on proposals to not only improve and enhance existing mandatory animal welfare labelling requirements, but to bring in equivalent measures in the foodservice sector.
This is in addition to the existing consultation DEFRA is currently undertaking on public sector food and catering policy. Included in the proposals are plans to promote procurement of local, sustainable and healthier food and catering.
The Government are also looking to throw open public sector supply chains to a wider range of companies, particularly SMEs, to ensure greater support for local economies and to encourage innovation.
Further details are available on the ‘Policy papers and consultations’ section of the DEFRA website: www.gov.uk/defra
Henry Smith MP