What's New at artisan & vine?

This blog site includes news on latest wines, food, events, offers and happenings at artisan & vine. It also includes stories of my wine adventures in and outside the bar, wine facts and wine profiles.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

English Wine Country

Fantastic week end weather is exactly the thing for a day trip into what I’m beginning to think of as “English Wine Country”. This time of year, “Wine Country” - Sussex and Kent - we should still expect the vines to be as stark as Grapey (the incredibly creative name I’ve given to the single grapevine I have growing on the balcony of my London apartment), but I it's worth the trip all the same. Grapey is currently more Twiggy than Grapey.
A lot of you have been asking me about English vineyards worth visiting for the week end. The absolutely definitive place for finding English vineyards is the English Wine Producers website, which includes a fantastic map and regional vineyard listing. You’ll be surprised just how many vineyards there are all over England.
My recommendation for a short weekend or day trip from London is “Wine Country” – north Sussex and Southwest Kent – for the heaviest concentration of quality wine producing vineyards in England. Some of these vineyards are not open to the general public without prior arrangement.

My favourites of the ones that you can drop into without a booking are:
· Biddenden Vineyards, Kent (also for lovely cider)
· Ridgeview Wine Estate, East Sussex (incredible sparklies)
· Bolney Wine Estate, West Sussex (you need to book in advance for tour)

Brilliant vineyards that don’t have a visitor facility but are worth peeking at:
· Davenport Vineyards, East Sussex / Kent (excellent organic wines)
· Plumpton College, East Sussex (a school + working vineyard & winery)
· Nyetimber Vineyard, West Sussex (tragically closed doors!)

Further afield, my picks outside of “Wine Country” are:
· Camel Valley Vineyard, Cornwall (the multi award winners)
· Brightwell Vineyards, Oxfordshire (can be done in a London day trip)
· Three Choirs Vineyard, Gloucestershire (impossibly pretty setting)
· A’Becketts Vinetard, Wiltshire (a nice tie in with touristy Stonehenge visit)

Image: Sam Lindo, the Head Wine Maker at Camel Valley, & I brave the winds at his stunning vineyards in Cornwall. This was in Oct 2009 – can you believe it’s been that long since I was last at one of our English vineyards?!

No comments: