Whilst the history of wine making in England goes back to Roman times, it is in recent years that English wines are gaining a reputation internationally as being amongst some of the best in the world. English wines have repeatedly surprised experts in blind tastings and in the 2013 Decanter World Wine Awards collected three trophies, six gold medals and 30 silver medals. Chink, chink…
East Sussex & Kent are well known for their stunning beaches, rolling countryside, historic sites and home to the best vineyards in the country. We are blessed with fertile soils and a mild temperate maritime climate with some of the finest potential terroirs for grape growing. This helps to make World Class sparkling wine and cool climate aromatic, complex still wines similar to those produced in Alsace, Sancerre and New Zealand. One day, the South East of England will be mentioned in the same breath as Napa, Sonoma, Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne.
Our collection of coastal cottages are the ideal base for exploring the surrounding award winning vineyards in the Bordeaux of Britain and what better time to explore than during English Wine Week.
English Wine Week will run from 23rd – 31st May with many of the local vineyards celebrating English wines and their part in putting Britain firmly on the global wine map. In addition to this, many local restaurants, pubs, bistros and wine shops throughout the area will be participating in the event and you will be able to join in the festivities with a glass of your favourite English tipple.
I can think of no better way to spend a spring day than getting out in the fresh air to nose around a vineyard, followed by a glass (or three) of England’s finest – accompanied by some delicious local food – and that’s exactly what most of the wineries taking part in English Wine Week are offering.
Chapel Down Winery has been clocking up the awards for its grand selection of premier wines, which are all made, tasted and sold from its vineyards in Tenterden, Kent. Maps and trails around the vineyards are provided for those who want to take a wander (the Old Herb Garden is particularly worth a look), and of course it’s only polite to taste the goods before you buy. So after separating the still from the sparkling on a guided winery tour, see the shop staff for a taster of some Premier Chapel Down Brut. With all this award winning wine around and a restaurant, The Swan, to enjoy it in, you might as well make an evening of it.
If you prefer your tipple to be organic then visit England’s oldest organic vineyard in Sedlescombe. Sedlescombe Vineyard is an independent family run business, established in 1979, which is now England’s leading producer of organic/biodynamic wines. Located within the High Weald designated ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’ in the heart of 1066 Country with views all the way to the town of Battle, scene of the famous fisticuffs between King Harold and William the Conqueror in 1066. Grab a map from the shop and take the self-guided trail of discovery through magical ancient woodland, an evergreen conifer forest and three beautiful organic vineyards overlooking the stunning countryside and Bodiam Castle. You will find out about Biodynamic wines, visit the boutique Winery and round off your visit with a tasting of award winning English Whites, Rose, Reds and Sparkling wines at the barn tasting bar.
Better draw straws for the designated driver…
So book your stay Beside The Sea and pay a visit to one of the many vineyards in the area who are happy for you to come and spit, slurp and swill the fruits of their labour.