If you speak to someone who has had a recent trip to a vineyard, you probably conjure images of an idyllic French chateau or perhaps sojourn to Tuscany, and rightly so. However, the last few decades has seen good old Blighty build up a fantastic reputation for our wines and also the quality of our vineyards.
Although a trip to the west country may not go down as well with your significant other than a week in the Italian sun, these locations could be well worth considering and a great shout for the seasoned wine aficionado too.
As regulars here at Octavian Vaults will know only too well, we are always on the hunt for the latest fine wines from across the globe. Therefore we have duly gone on the hunt for the best England has to offer and found six vineyards we think you should be visiting sooner rather than later.
We had to start with Three Choirs because, well, we think they’re great. We have mentioned a few of their tipples in the past, and their vineyard in the Forest of Dean is also not too far from from our Corsham Cellars.
Started by two farmers in 1976 on just half an acre of land, this vineyard is now 70 acres and the ultimate in English vineyards. You can explore the vines, go shopping, go on wine tastings, have breakfast, lunch and dinner or even stay for the weekend.
There are eight terraced rooms and some Scandinavian Lodges too, meaning that the decision to visit vineyards here in the UK rather than Europe doesn’t have to mean a compromise in quality.
Staying in the south west of England, Camel Valley is another English vineyard that has gone from strength to strength since humble beginnings in the late eighties.
These guys have really started to gather momentum especially since 2011 when they won global wine awards such as “Best Sparking Rose in The World”.
You can visit the vineyard any day of the week and there is an extended tour on a Wednesday too. If like us, you fall in love with the setting at Camel Valley, you can rent one of their idyllic cottages near Bodmin. A quintessentially English wine experience.
Our northern pick when looking for the best vineyards UK-wide, is undoubtedly Ryedale near York. There are ten acres of vines to enjoy and three of these are 100% organic and wildlife friendly.
These guys haven’t been on the scene for long with their founders, Stuart and Elizabeth Ryedale, only producing their first wine about eight years ago, but they have already scooped several awards for their Yorkshire Sunset Rose and Wolds View White.
The least glamourous sounding location when visiting vineyards in England has to be The English Wine Centre in Berwick, East Sussex. This is a vineyard London based wine fans flock to quite often, just as much for its restaurant as the wines it is producing.
In fact, this vineyard welcomes lots of European guests every week which is encouraging given its very English sounding title, and three nights of divine cuisine and English wine costs around £350. You will also be taken to the Rathfinny Vineyard, making at a truly vino-fuelled trip away.
Another vineyard London readers will be curious to read about is Hidden Spring near Eastbourne, Sussex. This one fuses the best bits of a vineyard and also a campsite, but fret not. This is a far cry from a cheap end campsite you are currently picturing, as it is firmly at the sophisticated end of the market and just adds to the fun of things.
On their 23 acres of vines, David and Tamzin Whittingham welcome guests to pitch their tens in their stunning orchards, and enjoy the company of their livestock and also wines and ciders made on site.
You can also take your caravan if you see fit and summer weekends here are famous in the region as guests enjoy the sunshine with Summery white ciders and wines.
The final English vineyard in our list, which has admittedly been dominated by the south of England but this is simply where the hotbed of English wine talent lies, is Biddenden Vineyards in Kent.
Here guests are encouraged to explore the 23 acres of land whilst they sample juice, cider and wine that has been produced in the vicinity. This one also comes with the customary café, shop and free guided tours making it another that the Octavian team would highly recommend.
We hope you enjoy sampling these excellent English vineyards as much as we did, as always we would love to hear your thoughts!
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