While you may think of Italy or France when it comes to fine wine, English or Welsh wine has gained critical acclaim in recent years. Try for yourself with our pick of the best vineyard experiences in the UK, plus facts about British wine.
Whether it’s fine-dining or hot air ballooning – here’s five of the most exciting vineyard experiences to enjoy with your wine.
Chapel Down Wines, Kent Chapel Down have a host of awards for their wines including Gold for their Rose Brut at the International Wine Challenge 2011. However, the vineyard itself has also been collecting awards including ‘Kent’s Best Vineyard’ in the Taste of Kent awards and Best Leisure and Tourism Business 2010 at the annual Kent Excellence in Business Awards. It is not really a surprise, Chapel Down definitely have the experience wow-factor with charted Merlin Balloon rides and private tours, tank tasting, fine dining, food and wine matching tutorials, VIP tours and sabrage demonstrations – all as part of their Deluxe and Bespoke gift packages.
The oldest established and family-run vineyard in Wales, Glyndwr vineyard was planted in 1982 by Richard and Susan Norris and is situated among lovely National Garden Scheme gardens. Visitors are welcome to wander through the apple trees and look at the ponds in the gardens where chickens, ducks and pheasants roam free. The vineyard is run with the environment in mind as hedges are left to grow wild to encourage wildlife and the vines are treated with organic materials. Tours are lovely and feature Welsh cheeses and home-cooked meals as well as walks around the vineyard with its star attractions, the llamas! There is also a really gorgeous B&B cottage in the centre of the wildflower garden for visitors to stay in.
Producing some of the best wines in the UK, Camel Valley’s awards speak for themselves. The 2008 White Pinot Noir Brut and 2009 Pinot Noir Rose Brut are just a couple of the fantastic wines that have won and you can try on the vineyard’s Grand Tour and Tasting. If you want to spend more time in this picturesque location, there are two lovely holiday cottages available, which also come with a seasonal salmon fishing license for guests to use.
Situated in Surrey, Denbies is the UK’s largest vineyard and the soil in the area has been considered perfect for growing grapes since the Romans lived there. Tours feature a surround-vision cinematic experience, tours of the indoor winery and a train that takes you around the estate as well as a running commentary from your guide. There are year-round events listings and the site has two fine-dining restaurants.
Three Choirs Vineyard is an idyllic place to visit or stay with lots of things to do. The vineyard tours are combined with a nature trail with hedgehog and ladybird nesting boxes, ponds with fish and waterfowl, owls, rabbits, badgers and more. You can dine at the Vineyard Restaurant and The Vine Room, take cookery courses, ‘adopt a vine’ or stay on site in one of the lodge rooms.