There’s something about visiting a vineyard that just amazes me.
The amount of passion, dedication and knowledge that goes into producing a bottle that I absent-mindedly take out of the fridge, open and fill up my glass with is just astounding. I only seem to pause momentarily to raise a toast before pouring it down my throat, barely giving a thought to the process that has gotten some grapes to this point.
Having played host to a couple of house guests for a week prior to the visit, I had been indulging more than usual. When I saw the email letting me know that it was English Wine Week and offering me the opportunity to go on a “Sparkling Outdoor Vineyard Train Tour” at Denbies, I couldn’t resist. I also needed to get them off my sofa – they were making a crater in the cushions as they had been sitting there so long!
The tour involved a 50 minute tour on a “train’ up to the highest point on the estate. The “sparkling” bit came on the first of our 2 stops where our guide served us a glass of bubbly which we enjoyed whilst he explained the history of the estate.
The estate itself is one mile square and is home to over 19 grape varieties, a number of which I had never heard of, and I think I know a (little) bit about wine! I think you’ll agree it’s an amazing view from up here. Being this high really gives a sense of the size of the place, there are over 300,000 vines producing over 400,000 bottles of red, white, rosé and sparkling, making Denbies the largest vineyard in the UK.
The sparkling that we were drinking has won several International Gold Awards. I have to say it was a bit sweet for my taste as I prefer something a little sharper, it did seem to go down well with our fellow travellers.
We continued our journey along the North Downs Way, avoiding local young people laden down with camping equipment, maps and compasses all in pursuit of their Duke of Edinburgh Award.
A hearty lunch forced us to go out for a walk and get up close with the vines.
A great day out – can highly recommend it, I may even return in October to give them a hand with the harvest.