First stop - Nutbourne Vineyards, only 2.5 miles up the road from Chequers is part of the new renaissance of English Wine – a stunning boutique vineyard with its own state of the art winery producing award winning still and sparkling wines. The vineyard is open to visitors Tuesday to Friday 2pm-5pm and Saturdays 11am-5pm and they hold special events on Bank Holidays. There is no entrance charge for the estate and visitors are welcome to walk among the vines, enjoy the beautiful setting and visit the windmill tower to taste and buy the wines. They also offer group tours of the vineyard and winery along with organised tastings incase you would like to combine your visit with a chance to enhance your knowledge on the subject of wines!. These take place in the Estates wine lodge where you can also choose to have a buffet or BBQ (perfect for larger hospitality groups)!
The Estate also hosts: “Jazz in the Vines”: two summer afternoons of live music and fine English wine on Bank Holiday Mondays 27th May and 26th August 2013 where you can relax among the vines between 2pm and 7pm, listening to live jazz music. Tickets need to be booked in advance for £12 per person, including half a bottle of Nutbourne Wine, by calling 01798 815 196, www.Nutbournevineyards.com
Next stop: Nyetimber (3.3 miles away from Chequers), with well over 400 acres of wines, it is the largest vineyard in England and produces sparkling wine to rival the very best in the world, including Champagne. Unfortunately Nyetimber is not open to teh public at the moment but worth a mention given its fame and success! 2010 was a fabulous year for Nyetimber and English wine generally when a sparkling wine from England trumped its more prestigious French and Italian counterparts to win the blind test at the world sparkling wine championships.
The current chapter of the Nyetimber story began in 1988, when Stuart and Sandy Moss planted the first vine and transformed Nyetimber from a working farm into a vineyard. The present owner, Eric Heerema, acquired the estate in 2006 and now combines his vision and leadership with the knowledge gained from two decades of viticulture at the estate and has since grown from 34 to just over 400 acres of rigorously vetted vineyard sites.
The manor house has also recently been carefully restored to its former glory, its history protected and its place at the heart of Nyetimber now preserved.
Nyetimber vineyard, Gay Street, West Chiltington, West Sussex, RH20 2HH, www.nyetimber.com
On to Bolney Wine Estate (17.2 miles away) which offers a variety of tours hosted by knowledgeable and experienced guides allowing you to wander leisurely around the 40 acre estate, inspect the state-of-the-art winery and taste the wines. As we discovered, if you go at the right time, you may even get to taste from the barrel!
Ridgeview Wine Estate (23 miles away) was founded in 1994 by Mike and Chris Roberts and is dedicated to creating world class sparkling wines in the South Downs of England. Making the most of a similar setting to the vineyards of the Champagne region – a low, limestone ridge in the Sussex Downs with a mild micro climate, the vineyards specialise in growing classic grape varieties to make the highest quality bottle fermented sparkling wines. The world class status of the wines is reflected by the number of national & international medals and trophies they have received since the release of their first wines from the 1996 vintage.
The second generation of the family have now become established in key roles within Ridgeview, enabling the continued expansion of the business. Their dedication, passion and determination have significantly contributed to the international reputation and popularity now attributed to English Sparkling Wine.
They have a number of different activities for visitors to choose from:
· Tour of the vineyard where they grow the Champagne grape varieties Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier
· Explanation of the various vineyard activities that occur throughout the year
· Tour of our state-of-the-art specialist winery and equipment
· An insight into the sparkling wine making process
· Visit to the cellars where secondary bottle fermentation takes place
· Tasting of all their current releases in our picturesque tasting room that overlooks the South Downs
Chequers offers secure bike storage for any of our guests wishing to cycle to the vineyards – though we take no responsibility for your tipsy cycle back to the Hotel afterwards! However, in our continuing quest to supply our guests with local produce, Chequers stocks the award winning Ridgeview Estate Wine and Nutbourne Estate wines which we will have chilled ready for you to relax and enjoy after a day at the vineyards when you arrive back!
Monday, 3 June 2013
West Sussex Vineyard's
With the arrival of summer weather and English wine week we thought it was good time to start exploring some of Britain’s best wine Estates right on our doorstep, with the nearest one being 2.5 miles from Chequers Hotel Pulborough and 4 of the best in England being within a 25 mile radius.You can’t beat a weekend in the English countryside enjoying a spot of wine tasting and a tour of the Vineyard!