Saturday, 25 May 2013

Two drive-by shootings at English vineyards

Vineyards don't exactly cover the English countryside but it is ever more possible to stumble across them as we did on two trips unrelated to wine earlier this year.

It happened that the vineyards suddenly hoving into view were two of the largest and longest established, Lamberhurst and Three Choirs.

In the case of Lamberhurst we had little time to take a look around so we have fewer shots. It may be unfair to say that Lamberhurst is unwelcoming but it is not listed on the English Wine Producers site as being open to the public and although there were signs of life there, we found no shop or tasting room in our cursory trip down the drive.

The friends we were visiting nearby said it seemed always to be closed and had changed hands more than once. Wikipedia has it that Lamberhurst is noted for Hop growing, a Golf Course and the place where Margaret Thatcher once lived.

Nevertheless there are vines - we know not what type. The Pub turned restaurant, now called 'The Winery' seems to be the focus of the place although it is not part of it.

By contrast Three Choirs is much more of a destination with its own restaurant,

Tasting Room,

Accommodation, Cafe and a Vineyard trail.

There are labels on individual vines showing adoption by people who have bought into a scheme, exhortations to Start Your Own Vineyard, plaques describing various grapes and so forth. All rather reminiscent of American Wineries.

With more and more vineyards being established over Southern England, it may be ever more difficult to avoid them travelling aound the countryside. We wish them well!

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