Artelium Open House: celebrating exceptional wine and art

Walter Bailey and ‘Wood, Earth, Hoop’ redwood

We’re really pleased Artelium is taking part in AOH again this May. You are definitely our favourite Wine Estate!
You describe Artelium as celebrating exceptional wine and art. Can you tell us a bit about how the idea came about to make the connection between wine and art?
When Julie and Mark were looking for a new place to settle outside of London, they were debating whether to plant a vineyard or create a sculpture park and decided on an estate which combined the two. Julie and Mark are avid art collectors and admirers, alongside being wine enthusiasts, the English wine obsession taking root when selecting English wines for their wedding in 2013. They understand both wine making and art making as an artisanal craft which has many similarities. Both art and wine prioritise the senses, inspire personal taste. They are made through combining experimentation and traditional processes, and they even share similar terminology – the ‘blending’ of pigments and grape varieties.

This connection between art and wine is expressed in our name: ARTELIUM.
ARTE noun – The expression or application of human creative skill or imagination -IUM suffix – Used to indicate the setting where a given activity is carried out, e.g. stadium

A combination of ‘arte’ and ‘ium’, our name ARTELIUM therefore signifies a place for the enjoyment of art and wine. A place to celebrate our ever-growing collective of artisans: the viticulturalists, the winemakers, the artists, the makers and creatives.

Artelium’s vision is to explore the association between exceptional art and premium wine through a varied arts programme, including exhibitions, events and collaborations. Additionally, many of the original artworks which hang on our walls and stand in our gardens live a second life on our bottles. Our limited-edition Artefact series collaborates with artists on label designs which respond to our natural surroundings. We believe pairing art and wine, on bottles and throughout the estate, creates a memorable experience of both.

Artelium Private View 

Who do you have exhibiting with you this year?
We are very excited to be exhibiting Walter Bailey for the Artist’s Open Houses festival. Taking place both in the tasting room and out in the vineyard, this exhibition includes large scale sculpture, interior pieces, a new collection of woodblock prints, and a permanent sculpture created especially for Artelium. Taking wood from pruned and storm-felled branches, Walter has created a bespoke piece in direct response to the landscape. This large circular structure provides an organic framing device for the surrounding vines and views the South Downs.

We will be exhibiting a mixed show in August, celebrating a mixture of contemporary craft and sculpture. We are currently finalising who will be exhibiting but we’re delighted that sculptor and maker Kate McMinnies will be a part of this show ahead of her solo exhibition with us next summer. Then in September we’re really excited about an exhibition with The Baron Gilvan which will coincide with the launch of a range of playful Artefact wines he’s creating the labels for.

Walter Bailey in front of Holding Together

Were there ways in which you felt that Walter’s work particularly complemented Artelium’s aims and what you are achieving there?
 Yes, completely. In our winemaking, we are sensitive to seasonality, celebrating each in turn for the essential elements they provide the vines. Every vintage is an almanac of the year’s weather and seasons, expressed through flavours and qualities. This consideration and celebration of nature is also inherent in our arts programme.

We are interested in work which responds to nature, especially that which uses natural materials and has sustainability at its heart. Therefore Walter, who makes his sculptures and woodblock prints from fallen or felled wood, was a perfect artist to collaborate with. He has used sections of pruned or storm-felled branches from the Artelium estate to create a site-specific sculpture. In this way, the wood is returned to its native landscape, just in a slightly different form.

I personally love the way Walter talks about regenerative making practises. When I interviewed him for our online blog, one line particularly stood out to me: ‘I am interested in our interconnectedness: how creation is live, everything pouring into something else, returning to dust, to earth. Everywhere, all the time, things are dying and becoming. I like going with this regenerative rhythm, working with the landscape, not against it.’

Walter Bailey – Breath, Stack, redwood

What are your plans for the work you have previously shown or commissioned for Artelium?
Comissioned works become part of the growing Artelium art collection. The permanent sculpture, Will Nash’s The Chevron and Walter Bailey’s Wood, Earth Hoop, are now parts of the estate’s landscape. We hope new permanent pieces will join them year on year, as we want our sculpture garden to grow.

The smaller, interior pieces, which are often commissioned for Artefact labels, are framed and kept for in-between exhibitions. We intend to use our current collection in different figurations to change the tasting room exhibitions in between planned shows. In the long term, as the collection, business, and estate continues to grow, pieces might find their way elsewhere…


Are there other ways you involve artists in your production processes?
We collaborate with artists on the labels for our ‘Artefact’ collection – our small-batch, artisan wines. These wines are a place where our winemakers can experiment, and we want to extend this celebration of individuality and craft with our labels. We adorn each Artefact wine with a commissioned artwork form a contemporary artist that reflects its individual qualities. The wine launches are often accompanied with a solo or mixed show. For example, Wood, Earth coincides with the launch of Artefact #6, which Walter Bailey created three separate labels for.

There is this lovely link of ‘The Collector,’ which exist in the worlds of wine and art. These collectors are often looking for something unusual and new and Artefact is just that. Not only do you get to experience an exceptional small batch wine, but you get to see and keep a special label with an artwork that has been made especially for it, that changes with each release. We think this makes each Artefact wine even more special and enticing.

What are the main benefits for you in taking part in Artists Open Houses?
It’s a wonderful way to promote our art-offering to a wider arts community. As we are, currently, mainly a wine estate, it has been instrumental in getting our name out there as a place which exhibits contemporary art as well. It’s also wonderful to be part of the wider community of Sussex artists and makers. Being on the Art in Ditchling trail has linked us to an amazing group of creatives who are all so supportive of each other. It feels great to be part of the rich artistic heritage of Ditchling and to be carrying this on. If we were just doing it on our own, without the help of the trail and AOH, I don’t think we’d feel as part of something. By being involved in AOH and promoting it, you’re not only getting your house out there but, as a by-product, promoting everyone else who’s taking part as well. It feels like you’re part of an artistic ecosystem. There are so many incredible artists and crafts people around us, so it’s wonderful to be linked with them through the festival.

Walter Bailey- Tenderness is Complicated, redwood

What are your plans for the future?
There are big plans to expand the business generally; making it a place where people can enjoy great art, drink exceptional wine, stay in beautiful places and eat delicious, seasonal food. In terms of the arts programme specifically, our main aim is to put on more regular exhibitions and to get our name out there as somewhere people return to not just for wine but for art as well. A part of this will also be hosting ticketed cultural events: private shopping evenings, supper clubs, concerts and panel talks are just a few ideas we have floating around at the moment. We want to continue to show a mixture of emerging and established artists, believing that exhibiting people at different stages of their career creates a dynamic artistic environment. We’re definitely dreaming big and are excited about where things will go.

Is there anything else you would like to tell us?
Just that we’re always thrilled to be connected to new artists and makers! I’m currently planning our exhibitions for 2025. We’re looking for artists and makers who work with natural and sustainable materials and who have a contemporary aesthetic. I’m particularly looking forward to finding some outdoor sculpture, as we have lots of space to utilise, and I’d love to build up our outdoor art to create an extensive sculpture trail. If anyone thinks their work fits with the above, I’d encourage them to look through our website at our past exhibitions, see if their work chimes with our aesthetic, and send me some images (no more than 5) along with links to websites and socials. My email is: [email protected]

Thanks so much to the AOH team for all their hard work in organising the festival. I’m excited to see what it brings!

Visit Artelium on the Ditchling trail:

Artelium Wine Estate, Streat Lane, Streat, Sussex, BN6 8SA

For more information about the exhibition:
Instagram feed: (@arteliumwine)