Vineyards near London
English wine making is a growing industry – and vineyards in the south east offer tours and tastings.
No, it’s not April Fool’s Day yet. You heard us right: English wine is for real. In fact, wine makers have been producing wine here for over 60 years. Now there are well over 400 vineyards in Britain. And a number of English wines have even won international awards. So, for a different kind of day out, why not visit and take a vineyard tour? And maybe sample some wines to see what all the hype is about.
Where can you find vineyards in England?
It’s probably no surprise that the main areas of wine growing are in the south of England. Of course, the climate here is the best suited to cultivating grapes. But the soil is also good for growing vines, as well. In particular, the chalky soil of the south east is perfect for the grapes that make sparkling wine. And climate change means that the weather is becoming more suitable – and so English wine production is likely to grow in the years to come.
You can find vineyards throughout the south of England. However, if you want to visit, the key areas for vineyards near London are Kent, Sussex and Surrey. And as a bonus, you’ll also discover some of the classic rolling English landscape of this region.
What kinds of English wines are there?
Most people think of sparkling wines, when it comes to English wines. The main grape varieties grown here are Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir. In addition, the soil in the south east is very similar to that in the Champagne region in France. This makes the south of England well suited to sparkling wine.
However, wine makers also grow other grape varieties such as Bacchus, and vineyards also produce still white and rosé wines. So, there’s plenty to discover!
Many wine makers offer tours of their vineyards and wineries. And of course, you’ll get to taste some of their wines. Our tip is to book ahead, as all these places will only accept advance bookings.
First, try Ridgeview Wine Estate, near Burgess Hill in Sussex. Their sparkling wines have won a number of awards. Tour the vineyard and winery, enjoy the lovely South Downs landscape and join in a tasting.
Alternatively, try Denbies Wine Estate, near Dorking in Surrey, another award-winning wine producer. This is one of the biggest vineyards in England. As well as sparkling wine, they also produce still white, rosé and even a few red wines.
Finally, head out to beautiful Kent, to Chapel Down near Tenterden. Take a vineyard and winery tour and then enjoy an informative tasting to discover why their wine is so highly praised.