As English Wine Week gets underway, vineyards across the country are getting ready to open their doors to welcome visitors, offering tours, tastings and special events.
Visit an English vineyard during English Wine Week
It’s that time time of year again when we celebrate England’s booming wine industry and pop open a bottle of its brilliant bubbly. English Wine Week officially starts over the Spring Bank Holiday weekend which is also conveniently half term holiday for many schools.
Designed as a national campaign to raise awareness of English wine, you’ll find retail outlets – from supermarkets to independent wine merchants, delicatessens to hotels, pubs, bars and restaurants and of course vineyards across the country, all doing their thing to help us taste and appreciate our national fizz. If you want to take part in the drinking festivities, here are our recommendations for the Best Places to Celebrate English Wine Week:
1. Visit the English Wine Market at the Brighton Food Festival
Around 25 English vineyards will be showcasing their wines at this two day festival of wines. Run as part of the hugely popular Brighton Food Festival it takes place on 29th and 30th May on Hove Lawns along Brighton seafront. Entry is free.
2. Make a Weekend of it and Visit Ridgeview for a Guided Vineyard Tour
Ridgeview, a family-run vineyard near Lewes whose award-winning wines have been served by the Queen to the Chinese Premier at Buckingham Palace, will be hosting guided vineyard tours over the May Bank Holiday weekend. Booking is essential.
3. Visit London’s Borough Market and Taste English Wines at The Wine Pantry
Set amongst the hustle and bustle of Borough Market in Southwark, you’ll find The Wine Pantry, a little gem of a shop where you can taste English wine by the glass.
4. Taste Sharpham Wines at The Riverford Field Kitchen
The sunny slopes of Sharpham Vineyard, one of our favourite vineyards in Devon, produce delicious wines. What better way to taste them than at Riverford Farm’s restaurant. The Riverford Field Kitchen will be hosting a special supper on 31st May to celebrate English Wine Week. Enjoy Devon fizz on arrival followed by a three course supper paired with Sharpham white, red & rose wines. It’s £37.50 for the full experience and £28.50 for drivers with sample tastings.
5. Take a Cheese and Wine Tour Around Denbies Wine Estate in Surrey
On Monday 30th May, take a guided walking tour through the vines at Denbies Wine Estate in Surrey followed by a tasting of 4 wines with local cheese in the heart of the vineyard.
I imagine Hell like this: Italian punctuality, German humour and English wine.
6. Spend Bank Holiday Weekend Glamping and Wine Tasting in Somerset
This one is a great option for families. Pack up the car and drive to Somerset to spend May Bank Holiday weekend glamping and wine tasting at Secret Valley Vineyard.
7. Visit a Boutique Vineyard in Oxfordshire
Bothy vineyard will be opening its door to visitors throughout English Wine Week with tours offered twice a day on select dates. It’s a popular stop off for cyclists out enjoying the leafy lanes of the Oxfordshire countryside. Combine it with a visit to nearby Millets Farm Shop or dinner at The Cherwell Boathouse restaurant in Oxford where you’ll find their wines on the wine list.
8. Take Part in Dedham Vale Vines Run in Essex
The Dedham Vale Vines Run at Boxted near Colchester, is a race with a difference; runners can take part in a series of wine tastings along the route. The 5k and 10k races take place on Sunday 5th June, the final day of English Wine Week. To celebrate, runners can toast their success with a glass of English wine at the finish (included in the entry fee). This year the run is raising money for Daisy & DIPG Brain Cancer Research, a charity that raises much needed funds to pioneer brain cancer treatments through Funding Neuro research projects.
9. Watch The Bottling of The Bubbles at Hambledon Vineyard in Hampshire
This Hampshire vineyard and winery is offering a full vineyard tour so you can enjoy the stunning countryside views followed by a visit to the winery to experience the magic of bottling their sparkling wine. The tour ends in the best possible way – with a glass of the award-winning Classic Cuvee and your very own bottle to take home. The tour is available on Monday 30th May and Wednesday 1st June. See the Hambledon Vineyard website for more details.
10. Tour Vineyards on the Sussex Gourmet Bus Tour
Hop on a vintage routemaster bus and tour two Sussex vineyards. Sussex Wine Bus Tours include a Sussex-inspired two course lunch, with a glass of wine or beer and tastings at both vineyards.
Discover the best English vineyards to visit throughout the year for guided tours and wine tastings.
The Foodie Travel Guide
Sally is the founder and editor of The Foodie Travel Guide. She travels around the UK and beyond in search of the best foodie days out, tasting experiences and delicious places to stay. She loves a glass of English sparkling wine, afternoon tea with friends and escaping London for gastronomic adventures.