London is well known for having some of the best bars in the country. From the shabby chic to the downright elegant, London is full to the brim with a bar for every occasion. For boutique drink loving tourists, you’ll never be far from a Great British watering hole.
We often think of the UK as a great place for ales, stouts and beers. With a plethora of distilleries for spirits such as whiskey and gin, one alcohol often gets overlooked as native to the UK. Many wines in the UK are imported from countries more commonly linked to it. From Italian Sangiovese to French Cabernet Sauvignon, there are plenty of bars in London sampling the best of international grape-based concoctions. Hotel bars are often the very best for this, the Shaftesbury Hotel Collection of London providing menus of only the best international imports.
When it comes to British wine though, the prospects are fewer and further between. That’s not to say there isn’t an industry, but you’ll have to scratch under the surface to find UK grown wines. Below are just a few of the UK’s secret vineyards and some of the unique products they sell.
With inaugural wine tasting events and a range of unique flavours to try, Quaglionos of London is a centrally located wine bar that serves only the best of British and foreign wine. With hand picked options and a glitzy bar to go with it, Quaglinos is everything elegant about London’s wine scene.
Forty Hall Community Vineyard in Enfield
Based at Forty Hall in Enfield, this community focused vineyard is made up of 10 acres of farmland and offers an accessible way to enjoy British made sparkling Brut Wine, Ortega grape wine and a range of other unique concoctions. These crisp, delightful specimens are only made possible by hard work, organic growing and community, all topped up by the hilly greenery of outer East London’s Enfield area.
Cru Winery in London
Cru Winery is based in Fulham’s Seagrave Road and one of the closest wineries to London’s Shaftesbury Hotel Paddington and Hyde Park. Based in a converted Victorian warehouse and named the Roberson Winery, Cru is held in high esteem as one of the leading London urban winery’s. With temperature controlled tanks, the English sourced grapes of Cru Winery are handpicked and high in quality, ensuring that the broad range of drinks crafted at Cru are of the highest quality possible.
Blackbook Winery in London
Blackbook Winery utilises the old warehouse spaces of this historic area of London to great effect. With its cool grown pinot noir and chardonnay, the railway arch based winery uses grapes grown close to London with a dedication to the two big selling wine variations. With a range of experimental brews under their belt as well, Blackbook have established themselves as a forward thinking brewery with one eye firmly on the classics.
Nyetimber in London
Nyetimber of Mayfair’s mantra is that they “don’t think in years, but in generations”, meaning that their wines are lovingly crafted with patience and attention to detail. One of the grand West London wineries, Nyetimber at 8 Sackville Street is easy to reach from the Grand Royale London Hyde Park and offers tastings, a glamorous bar and South of England grown wines right in the heart of the UK Capital.
Denbies Wine Estate
Based in Dorking, Surrey, Denbies Wine estate is one of the best spots just outside of London for idyllic vineyards in the North Downs of Southern England. With 627 acres of land and woodlands, the 10 houses situated here are more than just a vineyard, but a great way to spend a day in the historic countryside setting too.
Simpson’s Wine Estate in Kent
Simpsons Wine Estate is located in the Kent area of the North Downs and again promises still and sparkling wine that has been lovingly crafted for generations. Environment means everything for good wine, and the sheltered forestry of the Kentish countryside makes for a truly English pastoral setting. With wine tasting and tours available, the wine estate of Simpson’s is another example of the British version of the craft.
Chapel Down in Kent
With under 2 hours travel time from London, Chapel Down is a vineyard that prides itself on its beautiful Kentish wines. Alongside wines, this versatile vineyard also produces and distils beers and gin, even providing an onsite restaurant in the guise of the rustic Swan restaurant, which looks out over the breathtaking vineyard fields.
Bolney in Sussex
Just an hour outside of London in the South Downs of Hayward’s Heath, Bolney is an East Sussex based vineyard with five separate wine growing fields. With a large number of tours, talks, tastings and afternoon tea packages available, this is a must for the London-bound wine connoisseur.
Ridgeview in Sussex
Family owned since 1995, this is another East Sussex Vineyard under 50 miles from London. With year round tastings and tours, the wine tasting room is one not to miss, with its astounding views over the vineyards and hilly idyll of the South Downs. Just a few miles outside of Burgess Hill, Ridgeview is a quaint slice of winery heaven.
Rathfinny in East Sussex
The spaciousness and rural idyll of East Sussex really does lend itself to winemaking. With plenty of alkaline, fertile ground and acres of space, winemakers like Rathfinny have more than enough room to thrive. This one is newer to the game, having only opened in 2009 and recently produced its first batches of patiently fermented grapes. Here you’ll find cosily rustic retreats and red-bricked barns, as well as the classic wine tasting tours London visitors flock to visit.
Raimes in Hampshire
Hop on a train from Waterloo to Winchester and you’ll be placed right in the heart of Hampshire wine country. With an intimate 10 acres of land, the vineyard’s speciality is champagne-style sparkling wines and a boutique, handcrafted feel that is a far cry from the bustling industrial urban vineyards in London.