No longer is English wine regarded with derision. Today there are around four hundred English vineyards producing around two million bottles a year (more than eighty percent of it white), and the best of the harvest more than rivals the more famous names over the Channel. Sparkling wine is the biggest success story, with some English wines beating the best Champagnes in blind tasting competitions.
With almost identical soil and geology to the Champagne region, and a helping hand from global warming, the southeast is home to many of the country’s best vineyards, several of which now offer tours and tastings. In the Kent Weald, these include:
Kent’s oldest commercial vineyard, producing wines from nine varieties of grape, as well as traditional Kentish ciders. Free vineyard tours run once or twice a month, and there are free tastings daily.
Multi-award-winning winemaker, with a wine and English produce store on site, as well as a lovely terrace restaurant overlooking the vines.