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Celebrate English Wine Week with Kent wines from Chapel Down, Hush Heath, Simpsons and Biddenden

At a time when staying local is more important than ever, here’s one thing in lockdown we really can celebrate - English Wine Week.

Organised by WineGB, the week from Saturday, June 20 to Sunday, June 28, celebrates the best of the country's homegrown wine, and much of it we are lucky enough to have here in Kent.

The award-winning Chapel Down Vineyard in Smallhythe near Tenterden
The award-winning Chapel Down Vineyard in Smallhythe near Tenterden

There was a time when the idea of buying local might have made any wine lover spit out their Sauvignon in shock but times have changed and English wines have been busy bringing the fizz to high-profile events and wine connoisseurs’ must-have lists.

While many producers across the county have turned to online deliveries and tastings, some are starting to open up again in places. Here’s where you can get your wine for the week:

Chapel Down at Tenterden helped put Kentish wine on the map back in 2017 when it became the official partner of the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race, but has continued to make award-winning wines and sell them across the water, too.

Chapel Down Brut NV
Chapel Down Brut NV

Its Brut NV is a best seller and you can pick it up at Waitrose for £19.99, as well as online. Bacchus is becoming known as England’s answer to Sauvignon Blanc and Chapel Down Sparkling Bacchus was Chapel Down’s biggest sparkling launch last year. It costs £17.99 currently. Its winery shop at its Tenterden base is now open from 10am to 5pm Wednesday to Sunday, and you can also walk around the vineyards with a self-guided tour. Details at chapeldown.com

At Hush Heath in a secluded spot in Five Oak Lane, Staplehurst the vineyard owned by Richard and Leslie Balfour-Lynn, the estate and Cellar Door shop are now open. For VE Day this year, there was also a virtual winetasting which was the first chance to sample the Balfour Liberty’s Bacchus 2019, as well as getting a taste of the new vintage of Balfour Nannette’s Rose 2019 and their classic Balfour 1503 Rose NV. You can also order online. Find out more at hushheath.com

Richard Balfour-Lynn, with wife Leslie at Hush Heath Estate
Richard Balfour-Lynn, with wife Leslie at Hush Heath Estate

Simpsons Wine Estate at Church Lane, Barham, near Canterbury, has been making a stir in the USA wine world as well as Norway, Denmark and Sweden. The company is offering free delivery with its online orders until the end of this month. To order yours in time for English Wine Week go to simpsonswine.com

Biddenden Vineyard is taking online orders although its shop and estate walks are currently closed. If you’re ordering, make sure you try the Biddenden Bacchus 2018, which is now available.

Biddenden Bacchus 2018
Biddenden Bacchus 2018

Book at biddendenvineyards.com

Kent food & drink retailer Macknade which stocks more than 400 wines, is celebrating English Wine Week with a virtual tasting live from Macknade’s Wine & Spirits Store on Friday, June 26 at 6.30pm.

Kent wine stocked at Macknade
Kent wine stocked at Macknade

Group purchasing manager, Finn Dunlop, and wine store associate, Liza Wheeldon, will run the tasting live on Facebook. The wines come from award-winning local vineyards including Simpsons Wine Estate, Chartham Vineyards and Hush Heath Wine Estate, all of which are stocked at the wine & spirits store. Wines can be bought in advance online at macknade.com or can be collected from Macknade’s Flagship Food Hall in Faversham, or from Macknade Elwick Place, in Ashford, which has just re-opened.

For more food and drink news across Kent click here

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