English – and Kentish – wine is flourishing, with record harvests and millions of bottles produced.
At the 2018 International Sommelier Awards, English and Welsh wines won more awards than Champagne for the first time. And Champagne house Taittinger has also invested in land in Kent to plant their own vines.
Despite all the accolades, English wine is still somewhat under-appreciated by Brits.
But an entrepreneur from Kent has launched Cycle The Vineyards, to be one of the first to guide small groups on tours to a selection of English vineyards – by bike.
Will Males aims to help cycling and wine lovers get to know the wines better through guided wine tastings and winery tours, as well as enjoying the scenic road biking routes of the South East.
The two-night Wine Garden of England tour stops at four vineyards that are part of the Wine Garden of England group. As well as being able to taste their wines, guests will be provided with food pairings, from platters of local produce for lunch at Hush Heath and Gusbourne Estate, to five and six course meals at Squerryes Winery in Westerham and the Swan at Chapel Down, Tenterden. As an added touch, dinner on the first night of the first tour on May 15 will welcome guests into Squerryes Court – home of the eighth generation of Wardes to live there.
Will, founder of Cycle The Vineyards, said: “We wanted to create something that was more hands-on for guests than your typical wine tasting, so we have worked with the vineyards to create some really exciting experiences on the tours.
“From a ‘sabrage’ masterclass at Chapel Down, to disgorging your own bottle of Gusbourne’s sparkling wine, as well as a private dinner at Squerryes curated by the head chef and their Master of Wine, our tours will be filled with unforgettable moments,” Will added.
The first two tours will run from Wednesday, May 15 to Friday, May 17 and Tuesday, June 26, to Thursday, June 28.
There will be two further two-night tours and two four-night tours running later in the summer.
Prices are from £1,250pp. To find out more go to cyclethevineyards.com
To find out about the Wine Garden of England, which celebrates Kent wines, go to winegardenofengland.co.uk