The UK wine scene is booming and every year Brit’s are drinking more and more English wine. In 2018 that figure reached 168M bottles. Courtesy of global warming, the UK has seen an increase in average temperatures, resulting in a climate similar to Champagne, France. This has given rise to a higher quality, stature and subsequent demand for English sparkling wines.
Currently there are over five hundred English vineyards registered in the United Kingdom. Around two hundred of these are open to the public, the majority located in the south of the country.
Map of English Vineyards
Top 5 English Vineyards
Chapel Down – Small Hythe Road, Kent, TN30 7NG, Phone: +44 (0) 1580 766111
Chapel Down make some excellent sparkling wine along with producing a range of craft beer and cider. In 2018 they also released their own gin. They offer guided tours and tastings. If you can’t make it to the winery then get to their restaurant Gin Works in Kings Cross, London. Chapel Down Winery is definitely worth a visit.
Through a combination of new viticultural techniques and years of knowledge gained from established vineyards, Chapel Down are able to use the best of traditional and innovative practices to produce grapes of the highest standard.
Bob and Annie have been producing wine at Camel Valley since 1989 and have won numerous awards for both their still and sparkling wines. Don’t let the distance from London deter you. Make a weekend of it and get some fantastic English wine and clean, crisp country air into your life.
A true family affair, Camel Valley offer tours and tastings and also have two self contained holiday cottages available should you wish to stay. As an added bonus, they are located very close to the Cornish coastline which is littered with stunning beaches, walking trails and wildlife.
Denbies Wine Estate is family owned and run since 1984. The vineyard was planted in 1986 and since then has become one of the largest wine producers in the UK. Denbies core business is agriculture and they offer visitors wine tastings and an insight into wine production in the UK.
The Surrey Hills is a beautiful area. While you are visiting, you should take advantage of the surrounding villages and parks, including seven miles of public footpath which trail throughout the vineyard.
Hambledon’s beautiful vineyard is nestled on the edge of the South Downs in Hampshire. Head down and let them guide you through their state of the art winery. Tours run for approximately two hours where they will explain the processes involved in making English sparkling wine, as well as what makes Hambledon winery unique.
Rathfinny vineyards occupy a perfect south-facing slope just three miles from the sea. Its climate, chalk soils and aspect make it probably the most perfect place to produce wine in a region that is already producing some of the best, award winning English sparkling wines.
Drop in to their tasting room and experience all that Sussex sparkling wines have to offer. Rathfinny wines are crafted in the traditional method, where the secondary fermentation takes place in the bottle, after which it is left to age on the yeast lees for a minimum of twenty four months to develop wonderful autolytic notes. Rathfinny also have a still white wine, named Cradle Valley. It is light, crisp and made from a blend of Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc.
Britain has an extensive rail network which you can use to access close proximity to most English wineries. Once you get to the closest railway station, you will need to order a taxi or an uber to the vineyard. Alternatively you can try to convince them to pick you up! The major railway stations in London with trains steaming out towards Kent, Sussex and Hampshire are Kings Cross, Paddington, Waterloo and Victoria.
Wine Tour Operators
A couple of things that you need to consider is how many vineyards or wineries you want to visit and over what time frame. If you are only planning on visiting one, then the train might be the cheapest and easiest option. However, if you plan on visiting more than one in a day, or a couple over the course of a weekend, then you should hire a car or join a tour.
I hope you enjoyed this article on the best English vineyards. If you are looking to book a winery tour and tasting in the UK please call Savage Vines on 0203 603 1150 or email us at [email protected]One of our team will be more that happy to help you customise a tour for your group.