When one thinks of summer and vineyards, it is usually the French, Italian and Spanish countryside that comes to mind – perhaps even Napa County. But there are a growing number of noteworthy British vineyards. In fact, our mix of rain and sun make for some of the wine world’s most interesting and well-regarded grapes. The number of homeowners who make their own wine is subsequently on the rise.
As Edward Church, Head of Strutt & Parker Canterbury, has noted: “The interest in wine production in the UK is growing rapidly, and the number of acres under wine production is growing each year.” While citizens of the UK have traditionally imbibed wines from the more well-known wine-producing regions of Europe, British vineyards have been gaining ground over the past two decades.
Where are British vineyards located?
The majority of British vineyards are located in England, which has the largest number of grape-growing acres and wineries in the UK. Thanks to the country’s climate, England’s wineries primarily produce sparkling white wines and a small number of reds. England’s main wine-producing regions are Kent, Surrey and Sussex. There are some vineyards located throughout the rest of the UK, but England’s southerly climate makes it better suited to grape-growing.
What kind of wine is produced in the UK?
Due to its cool climate, British vineyards produce more white wine than red wine. British sparkling wines in particular have become highly regarded, especially those produced in Kent.
“French Champagne houses amongst others are choosing to expand into Kent,” says Church. “The demand for the fizzy stuff is endless, and the Champagne region is ‘full’ – there is no more land to put under production there. The English have been amongst the largest consumers of champagne since it was first made and now that the weather conditions are warmer here the conditions for growing the right grapes are ideal.”
Who is producing British wines?
Who is tending to the 500+ vineyards in Great Britain? While there are some substantial producers, many vintners are homeowners who are enthusiastic about wine and own a residential vineyard.
According to Church: “A great many, if not all, homeowners love to entertain, and what better way to do so than with your very own wine, produced expertly but home-grown? Furthermore, there is a business case to make too – and homeowners love to find different ways to make an income from their home.”
Our pick of the best homes in British wine country:
A superb former rectory enjoying gorgeous views over its own land and vineyard. This stunning Victorian country house is seated in an elevated position and features equestrian facilities on 23.5 acres of land.
An exceptional Grade II Listed house in a wonderful parkland setting. This home is amongst the very finest country homes within a short distance of the Cathedral City of Canterbury. With more than 10,000 square feet and fine views from its principal rooms, the home sits on 48.5 acres of land in the rolling countryside that includes a walled garden, vinery and multiple workshop and stores