For Nathan’s birthday, I decided to book a tour and wine tasting session at Brightwell vineyard. I couldn’t believe we hadn’t done it earlier, it’s just around the corner from us!
The owner of the vineyard took around 10 of us, accompanied by her gorgeous big dogs (they keep away the deer who snaffle the grapes!), explaining in detail their growing methods, and the story behind them buying the vineyard. She knew her stuff! But to be honest, the dogs stole the show. I wish I’d got a photo, but when they weren’t tearing around the vineyard they were cuddling up to us, very cute and friendly. In true typical fashion, even though it was late August, it absolutely tipped it down, but in some ways snuggling under the umbrella while we strolled through the vines added to the atmosphere of the day. We were taken down to the river where they hold events, which was a very print end to the tour part of the trip.
After an hour in the rain we were more than ready to get tasting! The wines were a bit drier than I’d hoped for, I prefer whites on the sweet end. We were spoiled a bit by the first English vineyard we visited, Three Choirs in Gloucestershire, which had wonderful selection of sweet but crisp white wines. We ended up buying the ‘Oxford Regatta’ which is a red. They also sell a Pinot Noir but it’s sold out at the moment, which was disappointing as I liked the sound of it, but gives us a good excuse to go back! They also invite people to come and help harvest the grapes, with payment in the form of lunch. I might be tempted by that one year, as it’d a good way to meet like minded wine enthusiasts!
We learned a lot, and I maintain that English wine can hold its own, and that we shouldn’t be prejudiced before trying! Particularly if you do like wines on the dryer end of the spectrum.