English Sparkling Wine Tasting
Discover the surprising offer of sparkling wine in the Sussex and Kent region in England
English Sparkling Wine Tasting
When we think of England, sparkling wine is not the first thing that comes to mind, but nowadays it should be. The country has been building an impressive reputation in wine production over the last 30 years or so. These sparkling wines are much more palatable and don’t have that distinct champagne taste, which means that non-champagne drinkers might love this.
The cool southern climate is perfect for maintaining the needed acidity for sparkling wines, and its limestone slopes and chalky soils make for the ideal wine-growing country. There is no need to worry about the carbon footprint; it stays low because the fruits are locally sourced. The first sparkling wine made with locally sourced grapes dates back to the 1950s.
Now, you can find approximately 500 vineyards and 130 wineries across the United Kingdom, with Kent and Sussex at the helm. It turns out that sparkling wine makes up 69% of all wine production in England. Also, it is interesting to know that this product gets exported to around forty countries. Raise a glass on your Private Tour of England.
Raise a glass on your Private Tour of England
Here is a list of must-visit wine estates in Sussex and Kent
1. The award-winning Rathfinny Wine Estate in Polegate, East Sussex, is located only three miles from the sea and has plans to become England’s largest vineyard with its astounding 600-acre estate. Here you can learn about growing vines and the traditional method of Sussex sparkling wine production.
2. Nyetimber, located in the countryside of Southern England, relies on the most delicate estate-grown fruit for crafting their wines. Here they use the traditional method to produce their sparkling wines.
3. Tucked away near the charming village of Ditchling, you’ll find the Ridgeview Wine Estate. Here world-class vines have been overseen for over 15 years. Since last year there are some recently built winery facilities just waiting for your visit.
4. Known as one of the oldest and most radiant vineyards in England, the Bolney Wine Estate sits in the heart of Sussex's countryside. Here they produce award-winning still and sparkling wines.
5. Bluebell Vineyard is renowned for its sparkling wines made exclusively from grapes grown within a single year. They have lent their name to the encompassed bluebell dressed wood.
6. Albourne Estate is a family-owned boutique vineyard overlooking the South Downs, offering a range of English wine styles. Here you can learn about the location's climate and how the traditional winemaking process shapes the final product.
7. Famous for its internationally renowned sparkling wines, the Court Garden Vineyard provides something for everyone from Ditchling still to red or white wine. During your visit, you can learn about the types of grapes grown in this climate and their flavours.
8. Tinwood Estate, located at the South Downs National Park base, has been building its reputation for exceptional English sparkling wines for about 13 years.
9. Biddenden Vineyards is the oldest commercial vineyard in Kent, with eleven types of grapes used for red, white, rose and sparkling wines. Here the award-winning wines are nurtured on south-facing slants with particular sunny circumstances to grow grapes.
10. The Wiston Estate Vineyard is hidden away in the South Downs, housing a 16-acre vineyard and a beautiful Wine Barn. Here, there's a traditional Coquard Press unique to the UK since it is one out of only four located outside France. The Goring family has run this place since 1734.
Where to stay
The Star Hotel at Alfriston is a restored ancient inn brought back to life by Alex Polizzi, niece of Rocco Forte and Star of the British TV show The Hotel Inspector. The Star with 30 bedrooms is a stones throw from the Rathfinny Wine Estate.
Amberley is a premium English village, architecturally perfect homes, thatched roofs and flint walls. There is a classic village pub, tea room and castle. The partially ruined ramparts of the castle form the backdrop of carefully panted gardens, and the entire sections of what was the old bishops palace is a luxury hotel with 19 rooms. The Relais and Chateaux Amberley Castle Hotel is in the middle of England’s Wine Country and is undoubtedly a classic English beauty.
South Lodge Hotel and Spa is in the heart of vineyard country and only a 25-minute drive to Gatwick. Add on a world-class spa and three restaurants, and you have the perfect retreat after a hard day sparkling wine tasting and touring historical gardens.
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