A photo of The Best Wine Tasting Tours in England

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Best wine tours in England

Why Visit England?

England: a land rich in history and heritage, with a diverse cultural background, boasting stunning natural landscapes, picturesque villages, and cosmopolitan cities. There are many reasons to visit England. You may not have considered taking a wine tasting holiday in England, but it’s an exciting, up-and-coming player on the global winemaking stage, producing high quality wine, particularly of the sparkling variety, that is turning heads on both sides of the Channel. 

In the mid-nineties one of the very first English sparkling wines, Nyetimber’s Blanc de Blancs 1992, won an international gold medal. Since then, the country’s reputation as a quality wine producer has strengthened. Indeed, English sparkling wines are often compared, rather favourably, to that slightly more well-known region across the Channel called Champagne. If you’re a sparkling wine fan, England is an excellent place to enjoy a wine tasting tour. But it’s not just bubbles that English wine makers are successfully producing. The calibre and scale of wineries has increased dramatically in the last decade, and there are new producers popping up all the time. The best way to experience English wines first-hand is to take a private or small group wine tasting tour, visiting several vineyards in one day.

Kent – the Garden of England – boasts fertile farmland and fruit filled orchards. The county is an up-and-coming wine producing region; however, it has a centuries-old history of growing hops to flavour beer, and distinctive, traditional oast houses (hop kilns) still dot the countryside. Brewing remains popular in Kent and the region is home to over 50 working breweries of various sizes, including Britain’s oldest brewer, Shepherd Neame. Join a beer tasting tour in Kent and sample the produce for yourself.    

When you’re not on a wine or beer tasting tour explore England’s green and pleasant landscape. The country is blessed with areas of outstanding natural beauty: ancient woodlands, rolling hills, wild moors and windswept chalk cliffs that are criss-crossed with walking and biking trails. Journey away from the bright lights of the big cities and discover England’s historic towns and charming villages where a pub lunch is a not-to-be-missed quintessentially English experience

Wine is our drink of choice (of course), however the Winerist team has been closely observing the inspiring surge of artisan gin distilleries opening across the country. These have given a new lease of life to the gin industry and we highly recommend visiting one of these innovative new kids on the block. Some even offer the opportunity to blend your own gin. Ask the Winerist team about our gin tasting experiences.    

Plan Your Visit

Best Known Grapes

England’s cool climate vineyards grow predominantly white grapes. Bacchus was first planted in England in 1973 and is now one of the main white grape varieties grown. It has hints of gooseberry and elderflower and is frequently compared with Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. Another white grape that thrives in England’s cooler climate, but is less widely grown, is Seyval Blanc. It’s a good all-rounder grape which is used for blending and also creates crisp, single varietal still wines. When it comes to creating England’s critically acclaimed sparkling wines, the grapes used are Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, the same holy trinity of grapes that form the basis for the vast majority of Champagne. The increasing popularity of English sparkling wine has unsurprisingly seen an increase in the number of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier vines planted in recent years, and these varieties now make up the bulk of the grapes grown across the country. 
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Best time to visit

Whilst the weather in England can be split into four seasons, the country doesn’t experience extremes in weather conditions and so can be visited year-round. The rainfall can be unpredictable so we always suggest travelling with an umbrella, but you can (virtually) guarantee that the further south you go, the warmer the temperature will be.  Winter is the perfect time of year to cosy up in front of a roaring fire in a local pub with a large glass of red wine. January and February are typically the coldest months of the year, and snow can be expected at this time of year across the mountainous regions of northern England.  The summer months are typically the hottest of the year, although temperatures are rarely uncomfortable. It is the busiest time of year to travel throughout the UK, due to school holidays and the promise of warm, dry weather. Advance booking is recommended.   Spring and Autumn are excellent times of the year to visit England, when the countryside is at its most picturesque and the number of holiday makers fewer than during the busy summer months. Autumn is an excellent time of year to visit the country’s vineyards as they gear up for harvest season. And it’s game season, so expect wild duck, grouse, and pheasant on the menu.
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How long to stay

Wine and food focused holidays in England can be as short or as long as you wish! In a long weekend you can enjoy a city break in London that is busy with food walking tours, wine tasting experiences, and cultural sightseeing. In a week you would have time to venture deeper into one of England’s wine regions, visiting different vineyards and exploring the countryside. If you can spare longer for a wine and food focused holiday in England you could visit more than one wine region or travel more extensively throughout the country, experiencing the contrasting destinations, food and wine of England, Wales and Scotland. The Winerist team will be happy to create the perfect itinerary to fit your time scale.
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How to get there

When planning how to get to England your choice of entry airport will depend on the destination you are visiting.  London Heathrow Airport is the closest international airport to the wine region of Hampshire; London Gatwick Airport is the closest international airport to the wine regions of Kent and Sussex; either airport can be used if your destination is Surrey, and if you’re visiting the wineries in the Cotswolds then you can use either Bristol Airport or London Heathrow.  If you’re travelling from Europe, there is also the possibility of arriving by train on the Eurostar from France, Belgium, or the Netherlands into London.    England’s wine regions are all easily accessible from London as the UK has an extensive road and rail network to transport you around the country. 
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