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Glug! Local vineyards to support in English Wine Week

English wine is officially having a moment - and what better time to try it than in English Wine Week? Top up your glass with a drop from one of these local Kent vineyards.

As we’re lucky enough to live in the Wine Garden of England it would be rude not to support local and celebrate English Wine Week by buying a bottle (or two) of the best in Kent. Share with friends! Or not, we won’t judge.

Hush Heath

What? Family-run wine estate, Hush Heath is set within 400 acres of Kent countryside. From expert-led winery tours and guided wine tastings; to stunning vineyard walks and nature trails within ancient oak woodland, it’s the perfect day out! Don’t forget to grab a table within their impressive, state-of-the-art winery and tasting room ‘The View’.

Where? Down the A21, past Royal Tunbridge Wells and continue down the country back roads towards Staplehurst.

How do I try? You can buy direct from the vineyard themselves from their website and get free delivery!

Stand out sip Balfour Brut Rosé 2016 is the flagship wine of Hush Heath, and one of England’s most renowned sparkling wines. A single vineyard wine made using grapes from the Estate’s oldest vineyard, Oast House Meadow, delicate salmon pink in colour with vibrant English acidity, and a palate of citrus and summer berry fruits.

Chapel Down

What? One of the UK’s largest wine producers. Chapel Down is a beautiful site, walk past gleaming new tanks and presses, their swanky new deli bursting with local produce and view their tasting room called The Wine Sanctuary. Take a guided tour with a tutored tasting of their award-winning range of sparkling and still wines and have some lunch in their smart on-site restaurant, with two AA Rosette and Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurant, The Swan.

Where? Head down the A229 and via the pretty Kentish villages of Benenden and Rolvenden to arrive at Chapel Down near Tenterden.

How do I try? Buy from their website.

Stand out sip We’d suggest to start with their Kit’s Coty Coeur De Cuvée 2014 which won Platinum in the Decanter World Wine Awards last year. It’s an elegant English sparkling wine with aromas of melon, peach and hints of butter and toast.

Gusbourne

What? Did you know that the original Gusbourne Estate in Appledore, Kent dates back to 1410? The de Goosebourne family crest was made up of three geese and even now, every bottle of wine crafted at Gusbourne carries the same goose crest. Explore the estate yourself on one of their tours or enjoy a day dining between the vines and have one of their picnics for two.

Where? Located on a hill at Appledore, just 15 miles from the must-visit medieval coastal town of Rye just over the border in East Sussex.

How do I try? Pick up a bottle from The Secret Cellar, Mayfield Fine Wines or Murcatto Wines. Or ask for a glass (or bottle!) when you dine in one of these restaurants: Kentish Hare, The Small Holding and Hattons.

Stand out sip You can’t go wrong with Gusbourne’s flagship wine, Blanc de Blancs 2014, made using hand-selected Chardonnay, it’s elegant and fresh. Buy it here, direct from the winery.

Squerryes

What? Set in the Kent Downs, in its own stunning 2,500-acre estate, Squerryes Winery is the perfect place for wine-enthusiasts – or those, like me, who know nothing about wine but love the taste! Take a tour of the Pilgrim’s Way vineyard, pop into Squerryes Court, the Warde’s family home, to meet Henry or Claire Warde themselves and learn about their family history. Leaving the best ’til last, there’s a tutored tasting with plenty of time to sit, relax, and enjoy four of their most exclusive vintages paired with toothsome cheeses and charcuterie.

They even have a newly built, super stylish, terrace makes the most of those breathtaking vineyard views with delectable seafood tapas and Sunday brunch menus.

Where? Located in the north of Kent, the gateway to the Garden of England, you can travel down from London to Oxted station (a mere 40 mins by train then 5 mins taxi) or Sevenoaks station (30mins by train and 10 mins by taxi).

How do I try? They have a selection of their vintage Squerryes to purchase either as a single bottle or in a case of 6 bottles, plus some branded gift box ideas making a special present available on their website.

Stand out sip Squerryes’ Vintage Brut Reserve is their signature wine, taking the very best fruit handpicked from their vineyard high on the North Downs. Last year, in the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards, the 2014 Vintage Brut won a platinum medal – one of the highest possible accolades in the wine world.

Biddenden

What? Kent’s original vineyard, producing award-winning wines, ciders and juices. Originally home to a 40-acre apple orchard, the Barnes family started to diversify the farm in the late 1960s and so Biddenden Vineyards was born! They run private guided tours year-round and open tours every Saturday from April to September, as well as having a self-guided route for you to explore.

Where? You’ll find them in the pretty village of Biddenden on Gribble Bridge Lane.

How do I try? You can buy from their on-site Farm Shop where they also stock their own wines, ciders and juices or online via their website.

Stand out sip We’d recommend giving the Schönburger 2018 a taste! A light blush fruity sweet wine with flavours of honey, lychee and elderflower. It has even been awarded Gold at the Sommelier Wine Awards 2020.

Redhill Farm Estate

What? The Redhill Farm Estate covers twenty acres with seven types of vines. We love how eco-conscious they are, Redhill Farm Estate practice natural and sustainable viticulture, all while decreasing their carbon footprint plus their bottles are made from 80% recycled glass and their corks are made from sugar cane waste. Go on a guided tour of the vineyard between April-October, Saturdays 12-2pm. Or spend an evening in The Winery with a tutored taste of seven wines on Wednesdays at 7pm.

Where? Situated in the village of Wateringbury near Maidstone.

How do I try? You can buy from their selection of wines from their website.

Stand out sip Try their Vintage Rose Brut 2015 with a delicious taste of red berry fruit with raspberry, red currant, and cranberry flavours. It makes for very easy drinking! You have been warned.

Simpsons

What? In the sunny, sheltered slips of the North Downs of Kent, you’ll find Simpsons Wine Estate. Charles and Ruth Simpson already own Domaine Sainte Rose in Languedoc, France but they are new to the English wine scene. Enjoy a Vineyard Tour and Tasting Session or spend a long, hazy summer evening with them at one of their Sunset Sessions.

To complete the visit, ride on Simpsons’ Fruit Chute, described as the world’s first winery helter-skelter, which delivers you from tasting room to winery in a matter of a few thrilling seconds.

Where? In the picturesque village of Barham, off the A2 just outside Canterbury with its beautiful cathedral and city centre.

How do I try? Buy via their website and get free delivery until the end of June!

Stand out sip Try their Chalklands Classic Cuvée 2017, exotic sparkling wine with carmelised pear and opulent orchard fruit flavours. Awarded a Gold Medal and a ‘Best In Class’ title at the 2019 Champagne and Sparkling Wine World Championships.

Chartham Vineyard

What? Delicious wines from an artisan family vineyard near Canterbury. Chartham Vineyard began in 2013, as part of their family farm where soils match the terroir of the Champagne region of France. Take a tour of the vineyard with co-owners Roz and Richard and enjoy a tutored tasting in their farmyard, just £10 a head.

Where? Located close to Chartham BR Station and conveniently positioned on the Great Tour Way, just 3 miles outside of the historic town of Canterbury.

How do I try? You can pick up a bottle from their Wine Shop (open Saturdays) or Online Shop and you’ll also find them available at many local restaurants and farm shops.

Stand out sip Their Bacchus 2018 was the Silver Medal Winner at the International Wine Challenge 2020. This aromatic white wine with tasting notes of elderflower and citrus, is made from 100% Bacchus grapes hand-picked from their vineyard in Sep 2018.

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