The best vineyards in Surrey and Sussex
The best vineyards in Surrey and Sussex
There are a host of top vineyards near London to enjoy a great day out, here’s where to visit and the tipples to try this summer
Vineyards in Surrey
We are lucky to have some fantastic vineyards in the south of England, producing wines that are world-renowned. Many of these are perfect for the summer months, going well with picnics or as an aperitif on a warm evening. Indeed, the Surrey Hills has the same geology of the Champagne region, resulting in top-class sparklies that rival, and even surpass, those of Champagne. With the vineyards now reopening, they make for a fab day out where you can sample these top wines, buy straight from the cellar door, and dine overlooking the gorgeous landscape…
There’s a great map here of some of the vineyards in Surrey. They’re right on our doorstep and just a short drive from London so you can plan to tour them all.
With a state of the art winery on the Hogs Back of the North Downs, Greyfriars produces top notch sparkly that reflects the local climate and geology of the area. Its sparkling wines are made using the ‘traditional method’ – a technique which utilises a secondary fermentation and subsequent ageing in the bottle in the cellar for at least three years before it is ready to drink. Tours and tastings are available. Try one of its signature sparkling wines such as the Rose Reserve.
Chilworth Manor Vineyard
The estate has a 1,000-year history with Saxons, Normans, monks, gunpowder manufacturers, and the Duchess of Marlborough making their mark. Planted in a sandy loam on a base of clay and sandstone, the vineyard shares a particular geology type with the Val de Reims and Valle de la Marne areas in the Champagne region of France (the latter home to the Bollinger estate). Chilworth grows Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier grapes to produce rosé and sparkling wine. Unfortunately its rosé is so popular that it is sold out already so look out for details of tours next year.
Albury Organic Vineyard
The organic estate’s award-winning sparkling wines are on offer at some of the country’s top restaurants, and its Silent Pool Rosé was served on the Royal Barge to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012. The vineyard is open for pre-booked tours, tastings and table reservations. You can also order an English cheese or afternoon tea box.
The boutique vineyard is all about quality English sparkling, with wines created in the traditional bottle-fermented method from the classic three champagne grapes, aged for a minimum of five years on the lees. Owners Bruce and Sibylla Tindale have enormous attention to detail, and the results have won them many prestigious Gold awards and Cellar Door of the Year. It is currently mounting its 7th Art & Sculptures in the Vineyard event running from 19 July – 2 August.
Denbies Wine Estate
Overlooking Box Hill, Denbies is a beautiful spot for wine tasting and dinner. Its wines make the most of the terroir of the North Downs, with its south facing slopes, chalky soil and micro-climate. Denbies produces a range of internationally award-winning still and sparkling wines, red, white and rosé. Tickets may be available on the day for a tour but it is best to book in advance. The hotel and restaurants are back open, too.
Vineyards in Sussex…
With the largest cluster of vineyards in the UK and home to several award-winning wineries, and only a short drive from London, wine-tasting in Sussex is a must…
Seek out Sussex sparkling at Rathfinny, which has garnered an international reputation for its excellent wines. And, with a seafood and wine kitchen and pre-bookable picnic hampers, it makes for a fine destination. You can stay on the estate in the Flint Barns, a perfect base to explore the South Downs Way.
With accolades including International Wine Maker of the Year and Best International Sparkling Wine, Ridgeview is one of the best. Tours are resuming soon, and the wine garden is open daily for pre-booked tastings, picnic hampers and platters of local produce.
Over in East Sussex is the lovely Tinwood Estate, at the foot of the South Downs National Park, which produces sparkling wines, including the Estate Brut, the Blanc de Blancs and rosé. There are three luxury lodges with views over the vines and feature headboards made from bottle corks, stools made from barrels and nods to wine related memorabilia.
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Bolney Wine Estate
Back open for tours, picnics among the vines as well as a great restaurant, this Sussex vineyard is one of the pioneers of the industry, starting back in 1972 when it was one of only six commercial vineyards in England. Today it produces award-winning red, white, rose and sparkling wines.