The UK is now one of the world’s fastest growing wine regions: 5 vineyards to go tasting at29th May 19 | Lifestyle
More vineyards are opening their cellar doors and wine festivals popping up across the country, says Sam Wylie-Harris.
Could Sussex be the next Sancerre or Hampshire the next Hunter Valley? If the excitement around the UK wine industry is anything to go by, with British wine the current buzz-word, then yes.
According to latest figures, the UK is one of the fastest growing wine regions in the world. A record number of three million vines were planted this year in counties such as Norfolk, Essex, Northampton and Suffolk, according to Wine of Great Britain (Wine GB), and it really is boom time for UK vineyards with a surge in wine tourism.
Here’s where to go for a scenic sipping adventure in the beautiful British countryside…
1. Camel Valley, Cornwall
A real Cornish corker, Camel Valley turn out tip top sparkling wines with two tours to choose from: a grand tour and tasting (£18 pp) and a guided tour (£9.50 pp). But if vineyard tours aren’t for you, sip fizz on their sun-drenched terrace with wonderful views of the vines, or book an overnight stay in one of their two cottages.
2. Ridgeview Wine Estate, Sussex
Ridgeview took home a gold medal for their Blanc de Blancs 2014 at this year’s International Wine Challenge (IWC) and their cellar door is open daily with complimentary tastings and beautiful views of the Sussex countryside. Buy tickets for RIDGEFEST (August 24, from £30 per adult) and you can wash down street food with fantastic fizz. There’s also a cocktail lounge, DJ and silent disco.
3. Three Choirs Vineyards, Gloucestershire
Head to glorious ‘Glosters’ and you can nestle among the vines in a wooden framed lodge with magnificent views of the valley. Otherwise, their ‘grape-to-glass’ experience starts from £12.50 pp. Complete the visit with brunch in The Brasserie, settle down for a Sunday roast or save yourself for dinner.
4. Exton Park Vineyard, Hampshire
Award-winning Exton Park (their trophy cupboard has a nice stash of medals) are hosting this year’s FIZZ FEST (July 21, from £15 per adult), Hampshire’s seventh annual wine festival with live music, a fizz bar, tractor rides and wine workshops. And while Exton isn’t open to the public, FIZZ FEST draws seven other leading Hampshire wineries so it’s a terrific day out to rub shoulders with the winemakers.
5. Hush Heath Estate & Winery, Kent
Hush Heath are totally geared to wine tourism with their open weekends, tours and tastings and wine club with member benefits, such as being able to wield a pair of secateurs and take part in their annual grape harvest. They also own a couple of local pubs if you fancy a minibreak in Kent. Check out The Goudhurst Inn and The Tickled Trout which have a small number of rooms.
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