Published: 05:00, 22 June 2022
| Updated: 08:07, 22 June 2022
Grab the wine glasses and a corkscrew or two, because it’s English Wine Week from Saturday, June 18 to Sunday, June 26.
To celebrate, we’re raising a glass to five breathtaking vineyards right here in the Garden of England…
Balfour Winery, near Maidstone
This beloved winery, which runs the Hush Heath Estate at Staplehurst, is one of England’s top producers. The beautiful Tudor estate has 400 acres of vineyards, apple orchards, wildflower meadows and oak woodland for visitors to explore. There is also a contemporary tasting room filled with a selection of art and sculptures from co-founder Leslie Balfour-Lynn’s private collection, an on-site shop and views from the terrace of the sweeping vineyards and beyond. With collections such as the Vintage Sparkling Wine collection, which includes Balfour’s first ever wine, the Balfour Brut Rosé, Leslie's Reserve Collection and Balfour Pink Fizz, there’s plenty to try from this award-winning winery.
Where: Five Oak Lane, Staplehurst, TN12 0HT. Find out more online here.
Biddenden Vineyards, near Ashford
One of Kent’s oldest vineyards, Biddenden has been producing fantastic wines since 1969. Still run by the same family to this day, the vineyard began as one-third of an acre of vines and is now an estate with 23 acres of south-facing slopes and 12 different grape varieties. All vine work on the estate is still carried out manually by hand, from the pruning to the picking, which you can see for yourself if you visit for one of the vineyard’s private tours. Explore the vineyard and winery with an expert or, if you prefer, go on a self-guided tour where you can discover Biddenden’s beauty at your leisure.
Where: Biddenden Vineyards, Gribble Bridge Lane, Biddenden, TN27 8DF. Find out more online here.
Chapel Down, near Tenterden
One of the country’s leading winemakers when it comes to English wine, Chapel Down has long been an established winery here in Kent. The grapes are mostly grown in the North Downs, while also using some fruits from nearby vineyards across Kent, Sussex and Essex, to create the perfect flavour profiles. With a number of different wines available to taste at the winery and purchase, from the best-selling Brut NV sparkling wine to England’s first Albariño white wine, you’ll be spoilt for choice this English Wine Week at Chapel Down.
Where: Chapel Down Winery, Smallhythe, Tenterden, TN30 7NG. Find out more online here.
Meopham Valley Vineyard, near Gravesend
Originally established in 1991, this 25-acre vineyard soaks up the sun on a beautiful east-facing slope with the magnificent Happy Valley as a backdrop. With nine grape varieties, including chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot gris, to try, wine-lovers will have a hard time choosing their favourite from the winery’s selection. Meopham Valley prides itself on its connection to the small village and the local community and, as a result, the Bassi family, who took over the vineyard in 2014, changed the wine name to Meophams, which can now be found on each and every bottle.
Where: Meopham Valley Vineyard, Meopham Green, Meopham, Gravesend, DA13 0PY. Find out more online here.
Terlingham Vineyard, near Folkestone
This boutique family-run vineyard boasts award-winning wines using grapes grown on the same chalk seam as the Champagne region, so quality is part of the package. You can take a guided tour through the vineyard, which grows naturally and is free from any artificial pesticides, fertilisers or herbicides, and taste a selection of Terlingham’s English wines along the way. The Wilks family moved from South Africa and took over the vineyard in 2006 and, since then, have proved popular with wines such as the Terlingham 2019 Sparkling White, which won the silver prize at the 2021 Independent English Wine Awards.
Where: Terlingham Manor Farm, Terlingham Lane, Hawkinge, Folkestone, CT18 7AE. Find out more online here.
If you're looking for even more ways to celebrate English Wine Week, you can enjoy the best that Kent has to offer at the Canterbury Wine Festival. Browse more than 25 Kent wines throughout the day from Simpsons Wine Estate, Balfour Hush Heath, Biddenden, Chartham, Heppington, Wayfarer, Wine Garden of England and more. You can also join renowned wine expert Clive Barlow for a tasting masterclass and sample exquisite drinks from across the county. Tickets to the festival cost £35 and include 20 wine tastings per person.
Where: Westgate Hall Road, Canterbury, CT1 2BT. Find out more online here.