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Canterbury: Barham based Simpsons Wine Estate installs a helter skelter

By Angela Cole

Fun-loving vineyard owners Charles and Ruth Simpson have come up with a corking new way to get about their winery.

The pair, whose Simpsons Wine Estate was opened by wine writer Oz Clarke last year, have installed a helter skelter which will take game visitors from their Glasshouse Tasting Room back down to the winery below.

But it wasn’t the first novel idea they had for the short journey.

Charles and Ruth Simpson try out their new helter skelter at Simpsons Wine Estate at Barham

Ruth said: “Given the height of the winery and the position of the Glasshouse Tasting Room, the temptation was too great to put in an alternative route down.

“Our initial thought was a fireman’s pole, but we felt that was too risky so we turned our thoughts to an enclosed helter skelter.”

Earlier this year, the estate held their first winery and vineyard tours for the public, and the new helter skelter is set to add to that experience. There will be a new series of tours in 2018.

Charles added: “We believe this is a first for a winery, certainly for an English winery, so we’re really excited to unveil it.

Charles and Ruth Simpson run Simpsons Wine Estate in Barham

“There is a growing interest in wine tourism in the UK – we’ve seen this from the addition of our tours this year – so we wanted to offer something that would really make us stand out and give visitors a really fun addition to their tour when they come to visit.

“We’ve obviously been trying it out and it is fast and it is bumpy, so not for the faint hearted, but so much fun.”

The pair released their first wine, the Roman Road Chardonnay, in May, while their first sparkling wine will be released in time for Christmas next year.

The helter skelter has been designed and installed by RAP Interiors. For more details on the estate go to simpsonswine.com

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