Forget France… yes really, because Britain is where you’ll find the most unique wine experiences this year. From the charming countryside of the South East to cosmopolitan London, there’s a winery to suit everyone’s taste — and fizz to rival Champagne!
A Vinicultural Renaissance
Over the last five years, Britain’s wine industry has been rapidly growing and receiving universal acclaim as wine buffs move their allegiances to the vines of South East England. Gone are the days of worrying about trying ‘old’ versus ‘new’ world - now it’s all about uncovering the unexpected and quaffing the best wine in the most surprising settings.
The Beautiful South
It’s the chalky soil and cool climate of the South East, which includes Kent known as ‘the Garden of England’, that makes it perfect for creating bubbles too. With this favourable setting, it’s no surprise that it’s now home to several wineries that are producing English sparkling wine that’s set to rival the famed Champagne region.
West Fisher Winery
One of the smallest wineries in Great Britain, West Fisher in Chelsham, Kent, produces fewer than 10,000 bottles annually from grapes grown around southern England. Its founder Simon Fisher is a former architect and has been passionate about wine production ever since his mother made wines at home. So, you could say that wine is in his blood…
Probably the most famous of the lot, Nyetimber in West Sussex was the royal wine of choice served by the Queen at both her Silver and Golden Jubilees. Quintessentially ‘British’, the Nyetimber estate goes back centuries - the first recording of it was in the 1086 Doomsday Book.
When you sip a Nyetimber wine, you’re sipping grapes steeped in history. They also host open days throughout the year (which sell out quickly) so you can see - and taste - for yourself why their wine is so popular.
Pop a cork and enjoy a glass of delicious fizz in the stunning South Downs, with beautiful views across the East Sussex countryside. This 600-acre estate is just a hop, skip and walk from the sea too - so you can enjoy your wine with a side of fish and chips, a British classic.
Along with tours of the estate and wine trails, you can also enjoy a glass of their brand-new wine for 2018, the first vintage of their Sussex Sparkling in their Tasting Room, or book an overnight stay at the cosy Flint Barns in the estate’s pretty ‘Cradle Valley’.
Hidden in the little lanes of Fulham, south west London, 90 oak barrels work their magic producing quality wines in small batches from grapes that have been specially selected from European vineyards.
You can jump on the tube and book yourself on a tour at London’s first winery through their sister company Roberson Wines.
Chapel Down Winery
Another award-winning winery, Chapel Down, has its 22 acres of vineyards in Kent. This particular area, the Kent Downs, is so picturesque, it’s been recognised as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
You can enjoy a guided tour of the vineyards and winery which includes a tasting, or even book a three-course lunch or afternoon tea, accompanied, of course, by the winery’s award-winning wines — they also produce beers and spirits.
Established in 1969, the country’s oldest commercial vineyard was started by the Barnes family and matriarch Mrs Barnes’ passion for viticulture - and is still thriving today, run by the second and third generation.
As well as the vineyard’s 11 different grape varieties, which produce red, rosé, white and sparkling wines, you can also add traditional cider to your tasting notes. They also make a delicious apple juice from renowned Kentish apples. Open for self-guided tours and complimentary tastings, they also offer guided tours on selected days.
For more information contact:
VisitBritain Media Teampressandpr@visitbritain.com