It’s #EnglishWineWeek and what better way to celebrate a week dedicated to wine than heading out for the weekend with The Great British Wine Tours.
What was once a small industry, is not exactly small any more. There are approximately 450 vineyards in England producing north of 6 million bottles of English wine each year with the majority of them – understandably – in the South east of the country. Getting to know these vineyards and selecting favourite producers is a challenge but a company based in Brighton has recently been set up to help. As the nation celebrates #EnglishWineWeek this week, our MD took it upon himself to do some field research and tried out a wine tour with Great British Wine Tours
Tours with this firm run every Thursday and Saturday and start with a pick-up from central Brighton (Jury’s hotel) at 9:30. Usually the day entails a visit to two local vineyards with a Ploughman’s lunch in between. Along the way you’ll get to visit the vineyards, talk to the wine makers about their wine, learn how it is made and how the growing of grapes has evolved in England plus, of course, you’ll get to taste several of the varieties produced by each of the vineyards visited, all in the environs of their beautiful wineries nestled in the Sussex countryside.
On our MD’s tour the vineyards visited were Bolney and Nutbourne and despite a variable weather day, the report has come back this tour is 100% recommended. It was a great introduction to English wine and regardless of the weather, it’s a superb day out in the beautiful Sussex countryside sipping delicious wine and eating superb locally-produced food among knowledgeable and enthusiastic wine lovers – who could ask for more?!
How can you get in the Spirit and be Involved?
There are around 20 tours a month around this time of year, offering gorgeous views around the coastline & countryside with stops at vineyards such as Bolney, Nutbourne & Bluebell Vineyard Estates.
One of the most popular tours is the Sussex Vineyard Tour that costs a reasonable £79.00 in a maximum group of 14. Here’s what Great British Wine Tours say on their website
“We pick you up from Brighton station and take through the rolling Sussex countryside to two England’s leading vineyards. You will be given a tour of the vineyard, walk amongst the vines and be shown the winery where you will learn about English wine production from grape to glass. After your tour, you will be shown into the tasting room for a tutored tasting of at least four award-winning sparkling wines. Once you have toured and tasted, it’s off to our favourite country pub for a charcuterie / ploughman’s lunch of fresh Seafood, salads, meats, cheeses ,breads, and chutneys. After lunch, we head to another Sussex vineyard for a second tutored tasting. After your second vineyard, we head to the highest viewpoint in sussex for 360 degree views of Sussex and the sea. A Great British day out!” – The Great British Wine Tour
On the tour taken by our MD, it may look a bit like Ed Sheeran came along for the tasting but it’s actually Danny Edwards, the passionate, hard-working and enthusiastic owner of Great British Wine Tours. Also in this photo is Charlie at Bolney Wine Estate, one of the most knowledgeable wine tour guides in the area.
At Barrington we’re already planning our next wine tour – maybe a Team building day out? – we’ll need to start dropping hints with the MD so maybe see you there!