Brightwell Vineyard, Near Wallingford, Oxfordshire
Oxford’s largest vineyard produces over 30,000 bottles of wine in a good year. Situated in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, it makes white, red, rosé and sparkling wines.
If you’re a complete English wine novice, a visit to Brightwell Vineyard is a good and gentle place to start. It’s owned and run by a husband and wife team who will take you on a one hour guided tour of the vineyard followed by a one hour tutored wine tasting in their barn.The Foodie Travel Guide
- Take a guided vineyard tour
- Do a wine tasting
- Visit the watercress beds at nearby Ewelme
- Pop in to The Crazy Bear Farm Shop
Take a Guided Vineyard Tour
Brightwell vineyard covers 14 acres of countryside 8 miles south of Oxford near Wallingford. The vines here are planted on the flinty chalk, greensand and gravel of the Thames Valley. During the summer months, the vineyard is open for tours and tastings from Friday to Sunday. Richard, the owner, has an extensive knowledge of wine-making, both local and British history, and geology, which makes for both an informative and entertaining tour. His dogs clearly enjoy it too as they come along for the ride.
Taste Oxfordshire Wines
After the tour, you’re invited to sit down at a table in the barn among the stainless steel vats used to ferment the wine. You’ll be guided through a tasting of 5 different wines and this is where Richard’s passion for wine-making really shines through. He recommends drinking a dry wine, such as their Oxford Flint, with oysters so that you can still ‘taste the sea’. It’s a zesty dry white blend of Huxelrebe and Chardonnay grapes much in the style of the Loire Valley wines. For seafood with a stronger flavour like mackerel or tuna, you can match it with a red wine such as their beautifully-named Oxford Regatta. They also produce an English brandy called Rush which is aged in oak casks. A select edition of under 500 bottles are available each year.
- If you’d like to experience life on the vineyard, why not volunteer for the grape harvest in October? Your hard work will be rewarded with a hearty lunch and the chance to try previous vintages
- Have a foodie Sunday by starting with a walk among the watercress beds at nearby Ewelme followed by a vineyard tour and wine tasting at Brightwell in the afternoon
Did you know that red wine has less sugar than white wines? Brightwell add the sugar level of their wines on the label (although currently, there is no legal requirement to do so).
WHERE TO STAY IN OXFORD
The Oxford Townhouse
The Oxford Townhouse offers B&B accommodation within a 10-minute walk of Oxford city centre.
Rooms from £95 a night.
A stunning boutique hotel offering unique luxury accommodation in historic Oxford.
Rooms from £125 a night.
The owners have 2 large dogs so best to check with them first or leave me in the car with my favourite toy.