5 ways to experience English wine

Raise a glass to a thriving industry, says Harriet O’Brien

Pop a cork – from a bottle of English fizz of course - to celebrate English Wine Week (englishwineweek.co.uk). This countrywide celebration of the increasingly thriving English Wine industry begins on Saturday and events range from tastings of English wine and strawberries at Laithwaites stores to special vineyard tours. The underlying aim is to encourage those who have never sampled the stuff (a good half of the population, according to the English Wine Producers association) to give English wine a go.

From Jersey to Yorkshire, there are now more than 410 vineyards across the UK, including 16 or so in Wales. Recently, the big success story has been English sparkling white. This continues to be the strongest product for 2014 but there’s also a buzz about still whites this year. 

Eat, drink …

For an all-encompassing epicurean experience, head to the Flint Barn Restaurant of the English Wine Centre (01323 870164; englishwine.co.uk) at Berwick in Sussex. There’s an extensive (English) wine list and lots of advice about what goes best with the seasonal organic menu. Stock up on wine before or after: the shop is supplied by more than 100 vineyards.

Stay on a vineyard

Glass in hand, absorb the peace. Three Choirs Vineyards (01531 890223; three-choirs-vineyards.co.uk) in Gloucestershire is one of the most established wine producers to offer stylish accommodation, with 11 rooms set among the vines. Doubles cost from £135, including breakfast. Other options include the seven-bedroom farmhouse at Denbies (01306 876616; denbies.co.uk) near Dorking, with doubles from £98, including breakfast; and self-catering cottages at the Camel Valley vineyard in Cornwall (01208 77959; camelvalley.com), costing from £400 for a week for two.

Take a tour

Although tours are offered by many vineyards, by and large you can’t simply turn up – booking is essential. Guided visits range from a three-hour tour with lunch at the evolving Rathfinny Estate (01323 870022; rathfinnyestate.com) in Sussex (£55 per person), to the family atmosphere of award-winning Furleigh Estate (01308 488991; furleighestate.co.uk) in Dorset (Fridays and Saturdays £9 per person, including a tasting).

Follow a trail

The best options for wine trails are in the South East, which has the greatest concentration of vineyards. Produced in Kent (producedinkent.co.uk) publishes a free leaflet downloadable from its website that gives details of 14 vineyards and when they are open to visitors. In Sussex, Wine Rides (07967373958; winerides.co.uk) offers short-break bike trips on which you visit and camp at Carr Taylor vineyard near Hastings and Seddlecombe vineyard north of Battle. Two-nights cost from £195 including luggage transfer, tent hire, meals and wine tastings (bike rental extra).

A free map of vineyards in England and Wales is available in print from English Wine Producers (englishwineproducers.co.uk): fill out the form online and you’ll be sent a copy.

Get involved

For those who want to feel connected, vine “adoption” could be the answer. In exchange for a financial contribution for a year, a plaque is usually posted by the chosen vine, you get a bottle of that year’s vintage and have opportunities to be involved in the production. Among the vineyards offering such schemes is Pebblebed Vineyards (07814 788348; pebblebed.co.uk) in Devon, offering annual vine adoption from £55. Multi award-winning Chapel Down (01580 763033; chapeldown.com) in Kent has vine leasing schemes from £245 a year.

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Life and Style
fashionThe supermodel on her career, motherhood and Cara Delevingne
News
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvSeries 5 opening episode attracts lowest ratings since drama began
News
i100
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Sport
Greg Dyke insists he will not resign as Football Association chairman after receiving a watch worth more than £16,000 but has called for an end to the culture of gifts being given to football officials
football
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Sport
premier league
Sport
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
Arts and Entertainment
Rachel, Chandler and Ross try to get Ross's sofa up the stairs in the famous 'Pivot!' scene
tv
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    IT Administrator - Graduate

    £18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FO...

    USA/Florida Travel Consultants £30-50k OTE Essex

    Basic of £18,000 + commission, realistic OTE of £30-£50k : Ocean Holidays: Le...

    Marketing Executive / Member Services Exec

    £20 - 26k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Marketing Executive / Member Services Ex...

    Sales Account Manager

    £15,000 - £25,000: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for ...

    Day In a Page

    A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

    Not That Kind of Girl:

    A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

    In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

    Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
    Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

    Model mother

    Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
    Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

    Apple still the coolest brand

    Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments