A new wine tour company specialising in English Vineyard tours recently launched the first of a series of tours to vineyards in the South East. Launched on the final day of English Wine Week, English Wine Tasting Tours took a group to two vineyards in Kent. The tour was deemed a great success, and the tour group came back with glowing reviews of the wines they tasted, and producers they met. The appeal of English Wine has been steadily growing with consumers, both local and international, and this was evident with the real ‘mixed bag’ of tourists. This inaugural tour group comprised of a combination of young and old, Londoners taking a break from city life, holidaymakers looking for a glimpse of ‘the real English countryside’ and the local produce, and wine-tourists from across the globe hoping to discover why the English Wine trade continues to grow in size, popularity and quality.
The first stop was Hush Heath Estate, now boasting around 37 acres of vineyards. Visitors were given a tour of the state-of-the-art winery and tasting of their range of sparkling and still wines. These proved to be a huge hit, with the Balfour Brut Rose 2010 in particular being hailed as ‘better than any Champagne’ the group had tried.
The second vineyard visited was Chapel Down near Tenterden, famous not only for quality sparkling and still wines, but also for their ‘Curious’ beers. Chapel Down’s Bacchus was especially well-received as an excellent alternative to Sauvignon Blanc, even by the New Zealand visitors on the tour. The tour also included lunch at the exquisite Goudhurst Inn, newly refurbished and owned by Hush Heath Estate, and offering both locally sourced dishes and, of course, English wines by the glass. The whole day was deemed a great success, as the group learnt how quality English wine is made, how much work is involved and who the remarkable people behind the process are. Nicola Boarer, founder of English Wine Tasting Tours and self-confessed foodie, explained: “Since I first started telling people about my idea to offer English Wine Tasting Tours I’ve had a really positive response. There’s a real push to support English producers and everyone I meet is keen to get behind English Wine. It seems to appeal to a broad range of people. The ethos of the Wine Tour is positively English, so lots of people want to bring friends and family who are visiting form abroad, Londoners, Hen-Dos and lots of companies wanting to take clients on a true English adventure”.
English Wine Tasting Tours will continue to run regular tours from central London, as well as creating tailor-made tours for companies and groups through the South East. Tours cost £89 per person (on Early Bird offer), include return travel to and from London, Vineyard tours and wine tastings and lunch, as well as 10% of any purchases made at both vineyards. They can be booked at www.englishwinetastingtours.co.uk