Being interested in wine, but not so knowledgeable about English wine, my wife and I took advantage of a special offer on Travelzoo and spent an enjoyable afternoon in a beautiful part of East Devon.
It’s a small vineyard – you wouldn’t get to it unless you were looking for it – situated not far from the Jurassic coast, and benefiting from the micro-climate in that area. It started in 2005 and it seems that, in England at least, it takes several years before the vines can produce a commercially-saleable wine. However, the site for the vineyard (small by comparisons with French ones we’ve visited) seems well suited to grape-growing. On a south-facing slope, it would not be suitable for those with mobility issues as the walk to the top is quite steep.
The talk by owner Alan was really interesting, highlighting the wide range of difficulties faced by wine growers, yet also illustrating the benefits, rewards and pleasures of the hard work necessary. We learned about the different grape varieties grown there, ones little-known but best suited to our climate, and how they are blended to make the various wines. At the end of the talk we were treated to tastings of three different wines, all of which were highly drinkable. Being a bit of a snob regarding the red wines I like, their Jurassic red was a little light for my taste, but we particularly enjoyed the white Coastal Dry. We even took a bottle of each home with us, although with most English wines, the price is going to be quite a bit higher than what you would pay for some of the bigger, imported brands in the supermarket.
We enjoyed our visit and found it really interesting. We also enjoyed the wines!