One of Eastbourne’s best kept secrets on the wine lover’s map was the venue for a weekend event of vineyard tours and wine tasting raising more than £2,500 for The Rotary Club of Eastbourne’s Homes for Homeless project.

Southdown Housing Association is working in partnership with the club and its matched funding pledge boosted the amount raised to more than £5,000

Vineyard owner Bob Hamblyn, a member of the Rotary Club, came up with the idea to raise funds and increase local awareness of the club’s £400,000 project to provide four homes for Eastbourne’s homeless people.

The event coincided with the first public launch of wines from the boutique half acre Compton Combe Vineyard which nestles under the downs behind Compton Drive and alongside the Royal Eastbourne Golf Club.

Rotarian Mr Hamblyn related how the vineyard was acquired and planted on April 29, 2011, the day of the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton. He explained the selection of varieties, and challenges of growing cool climate grapes. A tour of the winery and tasting of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Bacchus wines followed.

Graham Smith of Uplands Road brought his family along and said; ‘We had a very enjoyable and informative afternoon. I congratulate the Rotary Club on raising such an excellent sum from the tours, for such a worthwhile project. ‘

Grahame Cudlipp of Summerdown Road said; ‘Jennie and I learnt a great deal and well done to the Rotary Club for raising so much for a good cause.’

The club has so far raised £40,000 towards its target. With match-funding from Southdown, this already doubles the current total to £80,000.

Said Mr Hamblyn: “We still have a lot to do during the next year to raise this money and need all the help we can get. Details of the project and how to donate can be found on the website www.homes-for-homeless.org