Five of the best English vineyards to visit right now
Here, we shares our pick of the best English wine estates in the South East to visit this summer and autumn
A trip to Bordeaux or Piedmont might well be back on the cards for those wishing to head to warmer climes, but with the English Wine industry thriving and over 200 vineyards in England and Wales welcoming visitors, a trip to one of our own homegrown, award-winning wine estates is a wonderful way for wine lovers to elevate their summer staycation.
Sussex-based estate, Rathfinny, was founded in 2010 by husband and wife Mark and Sarah Driver. Known for producing some of the UK’s best sparkling wines, visitors can enjoy self-guided walking trails or summer estate tours of its 350 acres of vineyards - growing its four principle grapes, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Grisand - as well as its RIBA nominated winery, from £25 per person, with complimentary drop-in tastings beginning from 21 June.
A stones throw from Brighton, Albourne estate is another family run estate, founded by wife and husband duo Alison and Nick Nightingale. The vineyard is made up of 42,000 vines covering 30 acres and produces traditional method sparkling wines, as well as still red, white and rose wine, and one of the first English Vermouths.There are a number of options for visitors to the estate including weekend tours, drop-in wine tasting, picnics among the vines, and even a beekeeping experience.
Renowned for its sparkling wines, the first vines were planted on the Nyetimber estate in 1988, the holy trinity of sparkling wine grapes - Pinot Meunier, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Produced using the traditional method, visitors can sample, amongst others, the estate’s Classic Cuvee, Blanc de Blancs and its 1086 Prestige Cuvees. The estate hosts open days allowing visitors to explore the vineyards, with the opportunity to upgrade to a paired dinner experience.
Another specialist in English sparkling wines, Ridgeview is a second generation family business that has been producing wines for 25 years and was one of the first English wineries to focus solely on the production of fizz. The estate welcomes visitors all year round for tours and hosts events such as a chefs dinner series and ‘Ridgefest’, its summer music festival. It also houses Ridgeview Wine Garden, an alfresco terrace where guests can enjoy a number of hospitality experiences among the vineyards.
COATES & SEELY
Over a decade since setting out on their mission to create a sparkling wine to rival the best in the world, Nicholas Coates and Christian Seely’s wines can now be found listed in royal palaces and on the menus of Michelin-starred restaurants (and are the only English wine ever to have been stocked at the George V hotel in Paris). Private tours of the estate can be arranged by appointment only, and tastings or dining experiences can be arranged under Indian Mughal tents, in the vineyard, or at the private residence of the owners.