How To Celebrate English Wine Week 2022
English Wine Week is back this June – here are all the details
English wine is having a moment. For many centuries Britain prioritised other forms of agriculture over winemaking, but since the 1950s the industry has undergone something of a renaissance, with the UK now home to almost 600 vineyards.
English sparkling wine, in particular, has gained prestige in recent years – as Hedonism Wine’s general manager Julien Le Doaré explains: ‘The soils in southern England (Kent, Surrey and Sussex) are the same limestone chalk soils as those in Champagne, France, and, with climate change, the climate is getting warm enough to produce very high-quality sparkling wines.’ He adds that, though still wines remain a ‘nascent category in the country, there’s a lot of excitement around this area with red wines from pinot noir grapes, and aromatic whites.’
This revival is celebrated each year at English Wine Week, which has soared in popularity since it first launched in 2006, with more and more vineyards taking part each year. Read on to find out how you can get involved.
What is English Wine Week?
Returning from 18 – 26 June 2022, English Wine Week is a national campaign to promote English wines. It takes place annually at the start of summer, when flowering begins in the vineyards, and sees tastings, tours and events taking place across the country.
2022 English Wine Week Events
The Big English & Welsh Wine Festival
Kicking off festivities on 18 June, a wine festival will take place in Cheltenham at St Philip & St James’s Church – known locally as Pip & Jim’s. Over 20 English and Welsh wine producers will be in attendance, including Gusbourne, Chapel Down, Lyme Bay Winery and Langham, with more than 75 still and sparkling wines to taste. £20pp, 18 June 2022. eventbrite.co.uk
Head to the beautiful Gusbourne Estate in Kent to enjoy two gourmet tasting experiences. The first event, running in collaboration with Alfred Enderby Fine Smoked Fish, will begin with a tour of the vineyard, where guests will have a chance to sample the Chardonnay Guinevere 2020, released specially for English Wine Week. Afterwards, Patrick Salmon of Alfred Enderby will lead a slicing demonstration and sampling of fine smoked fish, then you’ll sit down to a seated fish-focused lunch matched with Gusbourne wines in the Garden Room, which overlooks the vineyards. £105pp, 19 June 2022. gusbourne.com
The second event will take place at The Fordwich Arms, located near Gusbourne, where chef patron and the team are creating a special four-course menu. Visitors will enjoy a short stroll in the vines ahead of lunch, which will champion the best of Kent produce paired with Gusbourne sparkling and limited-edition wines. £115pp, 24 June 2022. gusbourne.com
English Wine & Food Festival
This summer event offers the chance to taste wines from vineyards across the Thames and Chilterns region. There’s something for all tastes – from exotic names like Bacchus and Phoenix to more classic varieties like Pinot Noir and Chardonnay – and if you find something you love, all bottles will be available to buy. Winemakers will be on hand to give you the lowdown too. Swerve the hangover by getting stuck into the food offering: choose from a hog roast, pizzas, sandwiches and more. 25 – 26 June 2022. englishwineandfoodfestival.co.uk
Bank House x Kingscote Estate
Bank House, an independent wine bar and kitchen in Chislehurst, is joining forces with English vineyard Kingscote Estate to host a special tasting evening. Guests will have the chance to try a selection of six English wines, paired with canapés made with seasonal ingredients from local artisan suppliers. £25pp, 23 June 2022. bankhousechislehurst.com
Cotswold vineyard Woodchester Valley is hosting a series of special events to mark English Wine Week. To tie in with Father’s Day, there’s a Pinot Picnic, where you’ll be introduced to a selection of Pinot Noir wines before sitting down to an al fresco meal of local cheese, charcuterie, bread and fruit. Guests can either sit inside the tasting room or go full picnic with a blanket on the lawn, where you can enjoy beautiful valley views. Each sharing basket for two people includes a full bottle of either Pinot Rose, Pinot Noir or Reserve Cuvee, and there will be strawberry roulade for dessert. £35pp, 19 June 2022. woodchestervalleyvineyard.co.uk
Then, on the penultimate day of English Wine Week, the vineyard will host a complete tasting of its award-winning wines. You’ll have the chance to meet either founder Fiona Shiner or winemaker Jeremy Mount, who will introduce the event ahead of a tutored tasting – all accompanied by a grazing platter of meats, cheeses and nibbles (with veggie and vegan options available). £45pp, 25 June 2022. woodchestervalleyvineyard.co.uk
Main image: Nyetimber vineyard
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