In recognition of English wine week, we asked Emily, wine enthusiast (Level 3 WSET) and entertaining blogger, to suggest some good English vineyards worth visiting. These are some of her favourites across the country – offering tasting sessions, tours and more. Learn some interesting facts about the wine making process and what to drink when, and with what food. And most importantly of course, get to taste (and buy) some great English wines!
Rathfinny, Alfriston, East Sussex
Famous for its English sparkling wines that easily rival those made across the Channel, this colossal vineyard is planted on the same chalk seam as Champagne. Take your walking boots and do the Rathfinny trail, looking out for hares, skylarks and adonis blue butterflies along the way, and – in the summer months – finish with a gourmet vineyard picnic. There are two fantastic restaurants and a hotel if you plan to stay over.
Denbies, Dorking, Surrey
The largest vineyard in the UK, with 265 acres under vine, Denbies is well set up for visitors, with a hotel, restaurants, coffee, a wine shop, farm shop, brewery and lots of parking. There are 7 miles of public footpaths to explore. Try the picturesque, mostly uphill, walk to St Barnabas Church, Ranmore.
Denbies Wine Estate, Dorking – photo by Raoul du Plessis on Unsplash
Camel Valley, Bodmin, Cornwall
Guided tours take place at 2.30pm, Monday-Friday between April to September for £8.50 including a glass of wine. Consider travelling there by bike using the Camel Trail, an 18-mile cycleway running along a disused railway line, that links Padstow, Wadebridge, Bodmin, and then runs to the foot of The Bodmin Moor.
Blackbook Urban Winery, Battersea, London
Touring vineyards usually calls for a car, but Blackbook isn’t a vineyard, it’s a winery, and it’s located in a railway arch in Battersea. Using grapes grown in Essex and Oxfordshire, the husband and wife team make beautiful still Chardonnay and sparkling seyval blanc, among other things. You can try four of their wines on a tour and tasting.These take place most Saturdays at 4pm – book on their website.
Tillingham vineyard, Peasmarsh, East Sussex
If you’re interested in winemaking, Tillingham should be right up your street. Expect to taste experimental natural wines, made in interesting ways e.g. aged underground in clay pots. This is a farmstead with 11 rooms, a restaurant, a pizza oven making wood-fired pizzas, a wine tasting room and bottle shop, all with exceptional views of rolling hills and vines.
Find out more about English wine:
Where to Find Affordable English Fizz
Ideal Wines for Barbecues
Read Emily’s reviews and discover more about England’s wine scene @sussexwinetaster
And discover the ultimate job for wine lovers here.