Monday, 19 October 2015

Chapel Down Winery

On Sunday afternoon my husband and I decided to head to the Kent countryside for some fresh air. We chose the scenic drive through the fields and villages to Tenterden where we spent a few hours at Chapel Down Winery. Chapel Down is one of the biggest and most famous English wine producers. They offer a self guided walk through the vineyards, which on a sunny Sunday was a really lovely hour. They also offer private and group tours. You must book ahead but we chose the 1pm group tour, which was fully booked with around twenty five guests.

We were incredibly lucky with the weather and thoroughly enjoyed hearing about the different grapes and vines grown at Chapel Down by our lovely tour guide. We were then shown into the pressing room, storage tanks and bottling facilities and learnt all about the wine making process as well as the off site centres for the vineyard.

The tour takes around 45 minutes and they provide umbrellas if it is raining, although some parts are indoors. It's then into the lovely cosy Chapel Down store for some wine tasting. You can try up to three wines free of charge at the winery or can join a tour where you will taste six. We tried two white wines, a white and rose sparkling, a red wine and a dessert wine. I didn't love the English wines as much as others I have tried from around the world, however, it was great to taste what England can produce and it was a really lovely couple of hours in a picturesque environment.

The wines we got to try were:

  • Rose Brut - £24.99 per bottle - Pinot Noir grape
  • Blanc de Blancs 2010 vintage - £26.99 per bottle - Chardonnay grape
  • Bacchus 2014 vintage - £11.99 per bottle - Bacchus grape
  • Chardonnay 2011 vintage - £13.99 per bottle - Chardonnay grape
  • Union Red 2014 vintage - £11.99 per bottle - Pinot Noir, Rondo and Dornfelder grapes
  • Nectar Dessert Wine - £15.48 per bottle - Siegerrebe grape

The tour ends in the beautiful shop selling wines, beers, ciders, flavoured gin, vodka and lots of farm house foods such as pate's and different biscuits and chocolates. We stocked up on plenty of treats at reasonable prices.

The group wine tours cost £10 per person and last around 1 hour and 45 minutes in groups of less than thirty people. There is plenty of car parking on site as well as clean toilets. In the summer there are picnic benches to consume goodies post purchase and also a little herb garden to wander in. The winery takes cash and all major credit cards too.