showcasing the best of the south west
Top 10 Vineyards in the UK

Top 10 Vineyards in the UK

Camel Valley, Cornwall

Often cited as the don of English wines, this vineyard on the slopes of Camel Valley produces its award-winning superstar pink fizz (Camel Valley Pinot Noir), several other sparkling wines, three whites and a rosé. The fizz is what you’re after here, though, it regularly trounces other sparkling wines in global competitions and is, for our money, creamier, more delicious and certainly more interesting than many of the more traditional French champagnes. Apparently Judi Dench is a fan. The vineyard was set up by Bob and Annie Lindo back in the late 80s, a small-time, labour of love, where the grapes were tended and picked by hand. It has now grown to become the pinnacle of UK wine and is run by their son Sam. There is a pair of pretty cottages for rent here for those more serious about their sampling.

Sharpham Vineyard, Devon

This spectacular 1000 year old farm overlooks the wooded slopes above the river Dart and is just two miles down the road from Totnes. Sharpham has been producing award winning wines for 25 years, in particular the Sharpham Barrel Fermented 2013, a beautifully creamy white £16.95 a bottle. Sharpham Pinot Noir & Précoce is a favourite red, beautifully rich colour and  described as ‘a dry finish with lingering red fruits’ (£23.95 a bottle), your classic treat Saturday red. There are sparkling whites, whites, rosés and a couple of reds – rock up for a  serious wine tasting. Can we suggest the most committed wine drinker books in for a stay at the beautiful Bathing House   rented out by the Sharpham Trust.

Langham Wine Estate, Dorset

You’ll want to head here for your classic English version of champagne, for this South facing vineyard just outside Dorchester has the same chalk, flint and clay soil of France’s Champagne region. Langham produces a Pinot Noir, a Chardonnary and a Pinot Meunier, all of them regular award winners. Wine buffs say the Blanc de Blanc 2011 (£31) and the Langham Rosé 2013 (£25) are the ones to go for.

Furleigh Estate, Dorset

Another vineyard specialising in the classic champagne trio of grapes Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier.  Rebecca Hansford and Ian Edwards set up this 22,000 vineyard back in 2005 and their wines are now championed all over the place from River Cottage (an early supporter) to the Hix Oyster & Fish House and even Gatwick Duty Free. Sparkling wine is the mainstay and the Furleigh Estate Classic Cuvee gets rave write ups from wine critics who say it’s one to lay down in the cellar. But there’s also a gorgeous rosé the Sea Pink and a light red called the Tyrannosaurus Red which is  released at Christmas every year just in time for the difficult dinosaur in your life.

Hambledon Vineyard, Hants

We couldn’t not mention Hambledon Vineyard, with its spectacular position high up overlooking picture pretty, Agatha Christie-esque Hambledon. One of the first UK vineyards, it is now producing almost 1 million bottles of sparkling wine each year and the Hambledon Classic Cuvee (£28.50) is said to rival the best French champagnes.  Cult choice of fizz for weddings and those in the know.

Eastcott Vineyard, Devon   

When their children left home Richard and Hilary Waller decided to quit their high flying corporate jobs and plant a 6 acre vineyard at their farm in East Devon. They modelled the vineyard on US farm wineries, a passion project focused on growing and tending grapes by hand and selling direct from the cellar door. Friends and family come to help pick the grapes each year and Eastcott’s sparkling wines, still rosé and white have since earned a plethora of awards. We’ll vouch for the Meldon 2013 (£23) a delicious dry sparkling rosé in a salmon pink colour.

Polgoon Vineyard, Cornwall 

This vineyard overlooking Penzance is known for its Elderflower fizz a knockout combination of grapes and elderflower picked on the farm (just a subtle dash of elderflower juice provides the edge). Polgoon a family business set up by John and Kim Coulson who previously worked as fish merchants in Newlyn supplying Marks & Spencer. Their still rosé is a multi award winner and well worth tracking down – hard to believe but this dark pink number will convince you that there is life outside Cotes de Provences.

Oatley Vineyard, Somerset

Really you’ll want to visit this rural idyll in North Somerset. A tiny vineyard set up by Jane and Iain Awty 25 years ago, who left West Hampstead in London with three small children in search of the good life. They certainly found it in this utopia of oak trees and wild grasses with teams with badgers and owls and is set literally in the middle of nowhere. With two grape varieties – the Kernling, a Reisling cross and the Madeleine Angevine, Oatley produces two classic dry whites with shades of the best Sauvignons. The best thing to do it turn up for a tour and settle down on a trestle table beneath the oak tree with a crisp cold white. You can even bring your own picnic.

Aldwick Court Farm, Somerset
A relatively young vineyard, started in 2008, Aldwick still manages to produce multi award winning wines from its 9000 vines spread over 9 acres.
Wine critic Fiona Beckett recently picked out the Sparkling Brut Jubilate 2013 (£22.95) and we’re also liking the look of the beautifully pale Mary’s Rosé named after Mary Joyce Hathaway who came to Aldwick Court in 1957 ‘as the beautiful bride of Dennis Watts’. And it’s only £10.50 which is a bargain for English wine.

Trevibban Mill, Cornwall

Could there be a more  beautiful setting than Trevibban Mill situated on the slopes of the Issey Brook near Padstow and right beside Trevibban Lake. AThe vineyard was planted in 2008 and in 2015 Trevibban Mill opened its doors to the public. Within a year of opening the vineyard has won two gold, nine silver and thirteen bronze awards for its wine. There’s sparkling wine, dry white and fruity red available here but our favourite is the Black Ewe Pinot Noir £35 a regular award winner. Gorgeous cider available too and if you decide to visit there’s an open air bar and a restaurant headed up by the brilliant Andy Appleton, head chef at Fifteen Cornwall for 9 years, Appleton’s at the Vineyard. We plan to try it very soon.

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