Discovering the Vineyards in Essex

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Discovering the vineyards in Essex, showing why English wine is becoming more popularIt’s been a year since I moved out of London and into Essex yet I’ve never really taken the time to explore what Essex has to offer. I guess since I’d lived in London for many years it was just natural for me to want to spend all my free time in London. Well thanks to a press trip organised by Visit Essex I was finally going to explore some of what Essex has to offer.

Essex has Vineyards?

I must admit, before I was invited on this press trip I had no idea England had vineyards! Who knew English wine was even a thing? Certainly not me! Ok, so I’m more of a beer girl so maybe I don’t know much about wine but whenever I go to the supermarket I have an overwhelming selection of wines from South Africa, New Zealand, France, Italy but I’ve never seen an English wine on offer. Could the English even produce a decent wine? I was about to find out!

West Street Vineyard

The first stop was to West Street Vineyard where I was to have my first wine tasting. I’ll admit the only thing I know about wine tasting is that you’re supposed to spit it out after you’ve finished tasting it so I wasn’t sure what I was going to think about this experience. Maybe i’m weird but when I drink wine I like I tend to want to you know, actually drink it! 

Any mixed feelings I was having about the wine tasting soon disappeared when we pulled up at West Street Vineyard. We were suddenly in the middle of nowhere surrounded by nature. We had visited in the winter months so there were bare rows where the grapes should be. I can only imagine it’s a spectacular sight when the grapes are there.

We were taken upstairs to a private room for our wine tasting. In front of us tables had been set up for the wine tasting. Each place setting had 6 wine glasses with delicious wine ready to be tasted and not a spit bucket in sight. I guess since they are catering for an English audience they know the spit buckets aren’t necessary! If you did want one though they are available on request.

We quickly settled into our chairs ready for our tasting. One by one we tried each of the wines in front of us while Jane, the owner, explained what made each of these wines special. You could clearly see she was passionate about what she does and I loved that. She really made the experience come alive. It was the perfect first wine tasting experience!

During the wine tasting I was wondering why no-one else was finishing their glasses. Call me an alcoholic if you must but if someone pours me a glass of nice wine it would be rude to not finish it. Besides, they were only samples! However, after the sixth glass I could see why everyone was only taken a couple of sips. Suddenly I realised I had become a little tipsy. At least we were having lunch in the restaurant before leaving!

After the tasting was over we were brought downstairs for lunch. We had a three course meal presented to us that was pure perfection. I love it when I receive a plate of pretty food, especially when it’s a plate of delicious food. What I love about West Street is that they focus on using fresh, local ingredients in their cooking.

Dedham Vale Vineyard

Once we were done with lunch it was time to jump back on our bus to head to the next vineyard. Since our next stop was a bit of a journey away it was also the perfect chance for a sneaky post lunch snooze. It was just what I needed to feel refreshed for our next stop; Dedham Vale Vineyard.

Sadly we had fallen behind schedule so there wasn’t time to take a look around the vineyard. From what we did see though, Dedham Vale Vineyard is very beautiful and the perfect setting for a wine tasting. I can just picture myself sat outside on a warm day with a glass of one of their excellent wines just admiring the stunning scenery.

Once we had finished admiring the beautiful scenery we took our seats ready for our next wine tasting. As we had arrived late we only had time to taste three of their wines. After the morning’s tasting that might have been a good thing! The wine we did get to try was simply amazing. While we were tasting the wine we even got taught a bit about the filtering process. It was really interesting to learn about.

New Hall Vineyard

Our final stop of the day was to New Hall Vineyard. Here we got to unwind from a busy day with the lovely ladies from New Hall Vineyard. It was the perfect ending to a lovely day out. As a special treat we had been allowed to sample a wine they were experimenting with that had elderflower in it. I think all of us found this wine delicious so I hope they will be making enough to sell next year!

What I loved about the girls that were working here is that you could see the enthusiasm they had for wine making. That’s why they were experimenting with flavours. They want to continue to improve their wine and you can see this when you taste it. I fell in love with their wine and couldn’t resist buying a few bottles to take home.

Overall

As I mentioned before, I was skeptical about my day of visiting vineyards in Essex. I never knew English wine was even a thing and I wasn’t sure if decent grapes could be grown in England. Boy was I wrong! These were some of the tastiest wines I’ve ever had and they were grown right on my doorstep! I can’t believe I have lived in Essex for over a year before discovering these amazing vineyards. I will definitely be returning to all three and this trip has inspired me to go out and explore more of beautiful Essex.

 

 

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Discovering the vineyards in Essex, showing why English wine is becoming more popular

Please note that while I was working with Visit Essex, the reviews and experiences written about in this post are 100% genuine. We value our readers too much to lie to you. Our blog would be nothing without you and your continued support!

19 Responses

  1. I had no idea Essex had vineyards either! I know there are some around Sussex so I suppose it shouldn’t be surprising! But like you, I wondered if English wine is actually good because it’s never as prominent as South Africa, Australia, France, etc. Sounds like a good day out, and a lot of wine, haha!
    Clazz recently posted…A Romantic Mother/Daughter Break To… Venice?!

  2. I agree with your initial question: Essex has Vineyards?! Therefore your post is really interesting since one would not think of Essex as a wine region – or England for that matter.
    The food looks delicious, too, but I must say that this article has such a summery feel to it – makes me longing for a glass of cold white wine.
    By the way – when I did a wine tasting, I also drank the whole glass 😉

  3. Wow, I never would have guessed Essex has vineyards. I’ve never been to that part of the UK, but like you, I always associated wine with France, Italy, South Africa, California, etc. The lunch you had after the tasting looks delicious! Fresh and local ingredients are always the best ones.

  4. England has vineyards, even I didn’t know this, but I also want to explore more of my home country, so Essex along with the vineyards will definitely be a must. It must have been great to be able to taste New Hall vineyard experimental Elder flower flavored wine, how was the taste?

  5. When I read the title of your article, the first thing I thought was “Essex has vineyards?” It was funny to see that pop up as I scrolled down. While I am not a fan of wine, the pastural setting is lovely.

  6. I didn’t realize English wine was a thing – but then again, I’m from a region in the States that actually has fabulous wine, but no one seems to know about it, either. And I can tell you, tipsy from tastings is kind of a normal thing, at least around here 😉 It sounds like you had a great time, and we have another place to add to our list when we finally get to England!
    Meagan recently posted…Exploring Johnston Canyon’s Secret Cave

  7. It’s true that when you think of Essex, you don’t really think about vineyards and wine culture. It’s great to know that this is an option for an Essex trip!
    Brianna recently posted…15 Holiday Gift Ideas for Travel Lovers

  8. I’ll say what everyone else has – Essex has never been on my radar for wine production. I am based on London and think this could be a fun day trip out to see. And don’t worry about drinking the wine vs. spitting it out in the tasting buckets. 🙂

  9. 6 glasses of wine! I am not sure if I would be able to gulp all in. 😛 You do have good capacity (Y) Some time back I attended a similar session with 3 varieties and we could choose the flavor. 🙂 Yumm food there.

  10. Oh good to know that there are vineyards in Essex! Just like you, I didn’t know about it! But then again… I’m allergic to alcohol and my wife prefers French and Spanish wines. haha… Actually, we both worked at a Château not far from Bordeaux in the southwest of France when we were students. We were tour guides in the castle, but since the owners also produced wines, we always ended the tours by some wine tasting. Once there was a guy who drank all the different wines instead of “tasting”, and he was almost drunk in the end. But unlike you, he didn’t have lunch first, nor was it his first wine tasting. haha.. Anyway, glad you’ve liked your first wine tasting experience in Essex, and hope you’ll have many more! 🙂
    Mei recently posted…Lesbian travelers: Amanda and Julie from Lez Wander

  11. I did not expect that there are vineyards in Essex! It’s not a region that strikes me as wine country. What is the average price per bottle that you took home?
    You have me interested 🙂

  12. I literally had no idea we had vineyards back in cold old blighty, not the usual thing you think of with Essex but it looks lovely. We recently went wine tasting for the first time around Adelaide, had a great day!
    Nic recently posted…A guide to the unbelievable paradise Gili islands in between Lombok and Bali where you can swim with turtles! Indonesia!

  13. I love doing wine tastings. I can’t drink a lot, so this is a great way to try a variety of wines without putting out a lot of money. No spit bucket needed for me either:)
    Jennifer recently posted…Gluten-Free Guide to Surviving in Japan

  14. Each of those vineyards is beautiful! I’m a huge wino, so I would love to explore each of these. I especially love the view at Dedham. However, that dessert at West Street has won me over.
    Kate recently posted…Brixen, Italy – Alpine Charm Adorned in Light

  15. I know a few people who would really appreciate this. They would love to visit. I didn’t know there were vineyards there either, but I am not too surprised. Seems like there are tons all over

  16. Vineyards are always something special and promise a heady experience. Even I was not really aware of vineyards in England. But they do exist and they look beautiful as your trip demonstrates. In fact I recently discovered the existence of one in my own city and hope to get onto a visit soon.

  17. Seriously! Who knew English wine was a thing! I’m wondering how it compares to French or Italian wine. That meal looked delicious! You’re making me want to visit a vineyard now. The last one I went to was in Sancerre France as a language excursion.

  18. I love wineries but also didn’t know English wine was a thing. We’ll have to put it in our list next time we visit England.

  19. Love visiting vineyards and wine tasting rooms. In fact, I was just at one today. 😉 I had no idea that England had wines either. Am putting this on my list for when I finally make it to England.

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