March 19: The number of beautiful and award-winning vineyards in the UK is on the rise, and I have personally toured most of them a couple of months ago, writes our guest writer Beatrix Potter who says whether you are looking to learn more about the wine-making process or simply want to indulge in a fun wine-tasting, there is a UK vineyard for you and shares here experience about six of the top vineyards across the country
Langham Wine Estate (Dorset)
Best known for taking a ‘low-intervention’ approach to their grape growing, as well as wine production, Langham only use grapes which are grown on their Dorset vineyard. They aim to produce crisp, quality wine that is not only vegan friendly, but also environmentally friendly, produced using a combination of old and new methods. Visitors can take a two hour long guided tour, have picnics on the lawns or even partake in an afternoon tea held in the 19th-century milking parlor. In addition, those who enjoy a hands-on experience are able to partake in the autumn Harvest Experience, during which you can pick grapes, load the press and meet the Langham team. The experience is rounded off with lunch and a glass of wine.
With it’s tart, crisp flavors, Langham’s Rosé NV has become a favorite of mine since visiting.
Giffords Hall (Suffolk)
My favorite of the vineyards I visited, Giffords Hall is a family-run vineyard, which produces a range of wines, from sparkling wines, to rose and even fruity red wines. They offer both group and private guided tours of the vineyard, which are suitable for the whole family – even dogs (although they must be kept on a leash at all times). The tour concludes with a tasting of three wines and three liqueurs, as well as some canapés.
“If you’re looking to find out more about the wine-making process, this is the tour for you,” says Scott Lozano, a wine expert at Top Essay Writing Services and State Of Writing. “You can learn all about the history of English wine as well as the variety of grapes Giffords grow on the vineyard. They also tell visitors all about the processes of trellising, pruning, harvesting and husbanding.”
During tasting, their sparkling Brut was to die for – in fact, over on their website, they offer a sparkling Brut and tour gift voucher set, for that special someone in your life. They also offer a selection of sparkling wines, rosé wines, red and white wines and even mixed boxes with a selection of wines.
Sharpham Wine and Cheese (Devon)
If you are looking for a relaxed wine tour and tasting, then look no further than Sharpham vineyard. Sharpham vineyard uses both traditional, as well as New World techniques to create the classic wine, refined to develop its regional characteristics. Visitors are able to take part in an informal guided tasting, which consists of four wines and two cheeses, as well as including entry to the vineyard itself. You can then wander through the vineyard (with the handy help of a map) and even take a walk down to the River Dart. Additionally, visitors can also sample some of the wonderful dishes, made using local and seasonal produce by Head Chef Daniel, whilst overlooking the picturesque grounds.
Although they produce a wide variety of cheeses, only a few were offered when I went for tasting, and when I was wandering around I got a little lost, though the map provided did help. However, should you particularly enjoy a wine you taste, the price for a bottle is not extortionate.
Rodington Vineyard is the small family-run vineyard behind the Blue Tractor Wines, which produces some fantastic red wines, said to rival the Australian shiraz. Officially open to the public since 2015, the vineyard offers daily wine tasting experiences to visitors. These include a tour of the vineyard, as well as a selection of wine tastings at the winery accompanied by a cheese, bread and meat lunch. Entry to the shop and vineyard is free, making it ideal to pop in and try a glass of their wine for yourself.
When I went for the tour, we were taught about the complete life cycle of a grape and even the fermentation process, before we all chose our wines. The family even provided many delicious snacks at this point.
Three Choirs Vineyard (Gloucestershire)
One of the oldest vineyards in England, Three Choirs’ unique microclimate allows them to produce fantastic wine. Wine tasting tours of the vineyard are available, starting at the Cellar Door and going all the way to the edge of the vines, before concluding the tour with a four-wine tasting.
“This is a truly fantastic vineyard to visit, especially if you’re looking for a weekend getaway,” says Andrew Lord, a journalist at Essayroo and Top UK Writing Services. “After a wine-tasting tour, follow the vineyard walk over to the brasserie, where you can have some real country classics. You can even spend the night in the Oak or Ceder lodges, which have stunning views from amazing floor-to-ceiling windows, overlooking the willow-fringed ponds that are surrounded by vines.”
When I visited, the staff were helpful and knowledgeable, able to answer all of the group’s questions, although some of the group complained that the food could be hit-and-miss. I had some difficulty making it to the location, too, with a yellow weather warning in effect at the time, but it was worth it for the cherry-tasting Ravens Hill 2018 – a new favorite of mine.
Camel Valley Vineyard (Cornwall)
Producing award-winning wine since 1989, the friendly and relaxed tours at Camel Valley are extremely popular and require advance booking. The tour is followed by a five-wine tasting session including Cornwall Brut, Camel valley’s most renown wine. If you are unable to book the tour, you can still relax on the terrace with a glass of wine throughout the day whilst you enjoy the spectacular views. We met some cyclists who had happened upon the vineyard doing exactly this.
Reminiscent of the south of France on arrival, the main tour guide Bob – actually the vineyard’s co-founder – gave us an enthusiastic and knowledgeable stroll through their vines, out in the beautiful sunshine. Be aware that children are only allowed on the earlier 2.30pm guided tours, but be sure to try their ‘Cornwall’ Brut – almost our entire tour group left with a bottle.
Beatrix Potter is a professional writer at Custom Writing Service. She writes regularly about wine and enjoys visiting wineries, including all of those mentioned in this article.