With the English wine business thriving in recent years, we take a look at a few of the best vineyards in the country that wine lovers are able to visit.
Camel Valley, Cornwall
Camel Valley has been producing both still and sparkling wines at their Cornish vineyard since 1989. Over the past few years, their efforts can certainly be seen to have paid off, with an impressive string of awards and accolades, including the prize for ‘Best Sparkling Rose in the World’! Camel Valley also remarkably made history when winemaker Sam Lindo became the first winemaker outside of Champagne to ever be nominated for the Best International Sparkling Winemaker of the Year award in 2014.
As one of the most popular summer holiday destinations in the UK, Cornwall’s warmer-than-most climes certainly help to produce these world-class wines. The vineyard is set along the Camel River and welcomes visitors who are looking to gain an insight into the vineyards practices. Tours run each weekday at 2.30pm between April and September, with a special tasting session and tour held on Wednesday evenings, giving you the chance to sample a selection of their best bottles. If you’d rather just enjoy the wine, then glasses are served on a stunning terrace overlooking the vineyard all day!
Chapel Down Winery, Kent
With vineyards throughout Kent and the South-East, the chalky soil and cooler climate make for a collection of incredible award-winning sparkling wines, light reds and distinctive whites. Working predominantly with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Bacchus grapes, the vineyards are mostly focused on producing quality bubbly. Chapel Down are the suppliers to a number of top restaurants and famous faces, including Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver, as well as being the official supplier for No 10 Downing Street!
Set in the heart of an ‘Area of Outstanding Beauty’, the Chapel Down Winery is open to visitors year round from 10am to 5pm. Tours and wine tasting also take place each day between March and November.
Biddenden Vineyards, Kent
Starting in 1969, the family-run vineyard has built itself into one of the best in the country. With 23-acres of gorgeous English vineyard to explore, the Biddenden Vineyards encourage wine lovers to take a stroll through the valley to see the grapes that produce their range of award-winning wines. Pop into the shop after the self-guided tour and sample some of the wine, as well as an assortment of locally produced cheese, beer and chutneys. Open from 10am till 5pm Monday to Saturday, and 11am till 5pm on Sundays, throughout the year, admission and tastings are free to visitors.
This impressive thousand-year-old farm turned to viticulture only 25-years ago but has quickly become recognised as one of the greatest wine producers in the country. Sharpham also offers up one of the best vineyard tours in the UK. With a beautiful location overlooking the River Dart, visitors can either explore the grounds at their leisure or follow an expert guide on a ‘vine to wine’ tour. Over a dozen wines are produced here and are enjoyed alongside one of the handmade unpasteurised cheeses made at Sharpham.
If you’re heading off on a vineyard tour then you are bound to come back with a few more bottles of wine. Make sure that there is room for them waiting at home with a new wine storage cabinet!
Image Credit: greycap
Image Credit: Hardo Müller