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These are exciting times for the British wine industry. It has quickly moved from hobbyists, eccentrics and romantics producing amusing, strange and often undrinkable wine, to an emerging player on the world stage. It is a story of coming of age. English wines have been consistently winning international awards in competition with renowned and respected houses and Kent is at the heart of this renaissance. The Garden of England, once the county of apples, hops and soft fruit, is rapidly transforming into the engine room of this new era. An increasingly attractive microclimate for growing wine and a mixture of chalk, sandy loam and Wealden clay soils, make conditions ideal for winegrowers. This three-day tour aims to provide a strong representation of both large and small, family run and corporate wine producers. We will enjoy a leisurely and entertaining insight into the range and quality of wines now available and how the industry is likely to develop in coming years, in the company of Will Lyons, a recognised and accessible wine expert. The main emphasis of the tour will on sparkling wines as they currently dominate production and have been the mainstay of the developing international reputation. We will taste vintage, non-vintage, luxury cuvees, Blanc de Blancs, Blanc de Noirs and Sparkling Rose. Where available we may also sample still reds and whites. Set in an area of outstanding natural beauty, this tour combines a tour of bucolic countryside with ancient towns, whilst staying in comfort at the four-star Chilston Park Hotel.
Arrive at Chilston Park Hotel or Ashford International station. Late morning private luxury coach to Balfour Winery for a full estate tour, tasting and lunch. This 400 acre estate run by Richard and Leslie Balfour- Lynn, first planted vineyards back in 2002 and is famed for its pink sparkling wine which became the first English wine to win a Trophy at the International Wine Challenge in 2007. In the afternoon we travel to Squerryes, home of the Warde family for over 300 years. It is the only English wine estate to have won a gold medal for six consecutive vintages in the World Championships of Champagne and Sparkling Wine, and in 2021 be crowned National Champion, a unique achievement for an English wine brand. Recently they also won the 'Best English Sparkling Wine' Trophy in the International Wine Challenge and 'Best in Show' in the 2021 Decanter World Wine Awards, recognising Squerryes in the top 50 wines in the world. We will taste a selection of their wines before returning to the Chilston Park Hotel for dinner.
We head for Rye, first stopping at Charles Palmer, a family run, single wine estate near Winchelsea. The winery is set within the grounds of the delightfully picturesque Wickham Manor, where we will taste up to three sparkling wines. In the afternoon we visit the Gusbourne Estate, created by the South African visionary Andrew Weeber. They produce exclusively vintage wines of very high and consistent quality. Here we'll enjoy a three course lunch with wine pairings followed by a tour of the vineyard, winery and a tutored tasting hosted by Master Sommelier and Gusbourne Ambassador, Laura Rhys.
A mid-morning trip to Biddenden, which has recently marked 50 years of winemaking. This family-owned vineyard brings new grape varieties not commonly seen in the UK such as Ortega, Reichensteiner and Scheurebe. Not far up the road we will then visit the world famous Chapel Down Estate where we will have lunch at The Swann Restaurant, followed by a tour and tasting. We will return late afternoon to Chilston Park Hotel and Ashford International station, where the tour will end
Single Room Supplement from £439.00 (3 days).
You will stay for two nights at the 4-star Chilston Park Hotel.