Glug! Surrey’s best local vineyards
English wine is officially having a moment - and what better time to try it than in English Wine Week? Top up your glass with a drop from one of these local Surrey vineyards.
What? Family owned and run since 1984, England’s largest wine estate is set on a very pretty 265 acres just outside Dorking. There’s a large visitor’s centre, a hotel, two restaurants and wedding and conference facilities. Regular events including winery tours are also held at the estate.
Where? It’s just outside Dorking on the chalky soils of the Surrey Hills.
How do I try? You can buy direct from the vineyard themselves from their website, there’s a cellar door click-and-collect service, and the wine and gift shop are now open if you want to visit.
Stand out sip? The award-winning Greenfields NV is an elegant fizz made from whole bunch hand-picked grapes. It was Denbies’ original sparking. We’re also big fans of the Whitedowns Rosé NV – it’s fresh, crisp and gorgeously smooth.
What? Albury Organic Vineyard is a family-owned and run vineyard set on 12 acres in the Surrey Hills. It was planted by former IT man Nick Wenman in 2009, and out of about 600 commercial vineyards in the UK, Albury is one of only a handful that has been certified as organic – which makes it pretty unique.
Where? You’ll find Albury vineyard on the southern slopes of the North Downs, just outside Guildford on the A25 towards Dorking.
Stand out sip? Silent Pool Rose is probably the vineyard’s most iconic wine, and the one Queen Elizabeth enjoyed at her Diamond Jubilee celebrations. It’s a beautifully elegant, dry rose and the perfect summer tipple.
What? The vineyard is part of the beautiful landscape gardens at Painshill in Cobham, created in the 1700s by Charles Hamilton. As well as the small vineyard, there are magical follies, historical plantings and pretty views.
Where? The vineyard is on a south-facing slope set within Painshill estate overlooking the lake. Painshill is less than a mile off the A3 at Cobham and only just inside the M25.
How do I try? The sparkling wine is made by the respected Bluebell Vineyard Estate and is available only from the Painshill shop.
Stand out sip? The Painshill Vineyard Sparkling Rosé is a small vintage, made using only the finest grapes that are handpicked from the vineyard.
What? High Clandon Estate – a small boutique vineyard – was founded in 2004 by Sibylla and Bruce Tindale. The beautiful Glass Barn on the estate is a lovely venue, and also where occasional tastings are held.
Where? High Clandon is in East Clandon the stunning Surrey Hills, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, with sweeping views over the Downs to London’s skyline.
Stand out sip? The High Clandon Halcyon Cuvée Grand Vintage is a lip-smacking local alternative to Champagne.
What? A small family-run vineyard on 10 acres established relatively recently – in 2013 – on the Chilworth Manor Estate. The area is similar in its geology to the Val de Reims and Valle de la Marne areas in the Champagne region of France, the latter home to the famous Bollinger Estate. The first rosé was produced in 2017 and sold out within weeks.
Where? Chilworth Manor is in Chilworth, in the Surrey Hills, not far from Guildford. The gardens at Chilworth Manor are part of the National Garden Scheme, opening to the public for one day each spring.
How do I try? You can buy online. It’s also on the wine list at local pubs the Percy Arms in Chilworth and the William Bray in Shere.
Stand out sip? The Chilworth Manor Brut Rosé is creamy and rich with a taste of strawberries. The perfect summer’s day tipple.
What? Originally planted on one and a half acres in 1989, Greyfriars was taken over by Mike and Hilary Wagstaff in 2010 and grown during that time with 40 acres now under vine. A 3,500 square foot storage cave has also been built in the chalk slopes of the Hog’s Back.
Where? Greyfriars is on the south facing chalk slopes of the Hog’s Back, a few miles outside Guildford in Surrey, towards Farnham.
How do I try? You can buy online – there’s free local delivery and a cellar door click and collect service.
Stand out sip? The Greyfriars Sparkling Rosé is their signature wine – and multiple award winning.
What? Set just across the border in the Kent Downs, in its own stunning 2,500-acre estate, Squerryes Winery is the perfect place for wine-enthusiasts – or those, like me, who know nothing about wine but love the taste! Tour the vineyard, pop into Squerryes Court, the Warde’s family home, to meet Henry or Claire Warde themselves and learn about their family history. They even have a newly built, super stylish, terrace makes the most of those breathtaking vineyard views with delectable seafood tapas and Sunday brunch menus.
Where? It’s located just across the Kent border, near Westerham.
How do I try? They have a selection of their vintage Squerryes to purchase either as a single bottle or in a case of 6 bottles, plus some branded gift box ideas making a special present available on their website.
Stand out sip Squerryes’ Vintage Brut Reserve is their signature wine, taking the very best fruit handpicked from their vineyard high on the North Downs. Last year, in the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards, the 2014 Vintage Brut won a platinum medal – one of the highest possible accolades in the wine world.
What? With the amount of entertaining the royals do, a vineyard is a must. Dignitaries are a thirsty lot. A vineyard was first planted in Windsor during Henry II’s reign. Fast forward to today, and the Queen has created a new three-hectare vineyard in Windsor Great Park, under the stewardship of Tony Laithwaite and his team at Laithwaite’s Wine.
Where? A modest three hectares of Windsor Great Park’s 2,000 is set aside for classic Champagne grapes – Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier – on a gentle south-facing slope that overlooks a small lake and has ancient oak trees providing a natural windbreak. As locations go, it’s pretty darn perfect.
How do I try? Short of being invited to a state dinner, you can order from Laithwaite’s website.
Stand-out sip? There’s only one to choose from the Windsor Great Park English Sparkling Wine 2015 with its biscuity aromas and creamy apricot taste.