It is English wine week now (18th - 26th June) so it is the perfect time to tell you a little about our own vineyard, here in Harlton, as well as give you our thoughts on why English wine will get you and your guests feelin' bubbly.
Yes, that's right, we have a vineyard right here. We planted it in 2019 and our beautiful little leafy vines have been busily establishing their roots and branches since then. We hope to harvest a small batch at the end of this season (picking grapes around September time, if you want to help harvest them, pop a comment below) this will be a test batch, to see how they are progressing. It wont be for sale at that point, as the plants needs more time to mature to produce great tasting grapes. Our varieties include Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay - Yep, those are the varieties to make 'Champagne'.... so watch this space...
Our first grapes, back in 2019.
English wine isn't as new as you might think. There's lots of history showing vines growing here dating back centuries but the first commercial vineyard was planted in 1952, in Hampshire. Over the last decade, with warmer weather, our vineyards have really taken off and it's great to see English wine on most good wine lists now. There are over 600 vineyards now listed in the UK so there is plenty of choice and different wines to try.
In short, because it is amazing! English wines have recently been scooping up world wine awards and giving the traditional Champagne houses some strong competition like we have never seen before. Not only does it taste great, but it supports local people and reduces environmental impact substantially. So, join us in supporting local businesses and get a cork popped, don't forget to let us know what you think.
Which wine do we choose?
Don't worry if you haven't tried English wines, or haven't found one you like yet. We have teamed up with Grape Britannia. An ALL English wine merchant who knows his wines like we know weddings! Together with Mat, we have some carefully selected wines on our menus which you can also try when you are here too. Our favourite is the Harrow and Hope sparkling white, but they also do a rose which should not be missed. Rose can look incredible as a reception drink, topped with fresh fruit or even candy floss.
We can also highly recommend Chilford Hall, notably their Rivey Hill White and their Three Tunns Red. Another is the Nutborne Vineyard, a white called Ten.Five, it has a bit more opportunity to divide opinion, but we LOVE it. Even if you can't get to a wine merchant to pick some up, your local supermarket is now likely to have some on the shelf too.
Start your wedding reception sparkling.
Other ways to enjoy English wine week
Impromptu wine tasting
Invite a few friends and pair it with some English cheese for an ultimate night in. We suggest trying these wines; Harrow and Hope Brut Reserve, Chilford Hall Rivey Hill, Denbies Wine Estate Pinot Noir all from Grape Britannia. Some great cheese pairings include Baron Bigon, Cambridge Blue, Cornish Yarg all available from The Cambridge Cheese Company.
Make sparkling wine ice lollies
Simply fill ice lolly moulds with some fizz, add some fruits if you wish and then freeze. You can get creative with colours, and other toppings too.
Just don't let anyone under 18 accidentally get hold of them!
Do you have a favourite English wine we should try? Comment below so we can check it out but most importantly, give English wine a go!