You don’t have to head to sunnier climes to sample home-grown wines made just metres from the vine: the UK’s viticulture scene is thriving with some fine sparklers and top-notch wines
Kent’s oldest vineyard – in the charming countryside of The Weald – has been helping shape the UK’s viticulture scene since 1969 with 11 different grape varieties across its south-facing slopes. Private tours guide punters around its award-winning vines before stepping into the onsite shop to taste its white, rose, red and sparkling wines, with Ortega, a German grape developed from crossbreeding Müller-Thurgau and Siegerrebe, being its ace card. Alternatively, it’s open throughout the year if you’re just passing for a free self-guided tour, followed by a quick tipple.
Tours must be booked in advance at this picturesque vineyard in the Vale of Glamorgan – all kicked off with a chilled glass of its Welsh Vintage sparkling wine. As well as exploring the vines and meeting the resident llamas, you’ll be served a country platter and two glasses of its Glyndwr wines. For an enchanting stay, however, Glyndwr also has an impossibly cosy self-catering cottage with a sunny terrace overlooking orchards and grassy meadows. And of course, fantastic wines on tap.
It’s all about exclusivity at this top vineyard in West Chiltington: the public can only gain access during its sporadic open days (the next is 1 and 2 July) – and they sell out fast. But once you’re through its doors, you’ll discover a thoroughly slick operation whose single aim is to make the finest English sparkling wine there is. Supplying some of the UK’s top restaurants and hotels, from The Ritz to the Hawksmoor, it’s a bona fide rival to Champagne. But don’t take our word for it. Book a place at the vineyard’s next open day and sip your way through its award-winning bubbly, or hop aboard the Nyetimber – a converted Routemaster that pours its finest fizz at a clutch of British events throughout the year.
Not strictly a vineyard, but who knew London was home to a winery? Importing its grapes from top European vineyards, this Fulham winery, tucked down an alleyway, transforms the fruits into critically acclaimed wines that supply a handful of Michelin-star restaurants. With names such as Baker St 2016 and Barbican 2015, the wines stay true to their London roots. Sign up to its ‘Meet the Cru’ tour, and you’ll be privy to some secrets behind the art of winemaking whilst slurping a few stellar glasses in the process – the only wines made in the capital.