English wines have really come into their own of late. 

The very fact that a number of French companies have bought land over here and planted vineyards, is testament to the quality of our home grown vines and wine making skills. 

It’s English Wine Week (15-23 June) so a great time to try some if you’re not already familiar with the various options. 

I was fortunate enough to be invited on a trip recently to visit some of Hampshire’s vineyards and I was really impressed with the wines. (and having worked with a top champagne house for many years, I like to think I know what I’m talking about!)

The Grange

The Grange is perhaps a relatively new name on our wine scene, but is already winning lots of awards. 

It’s run by the Baring family, famed for staging the Grange Festival of opera.

We were hosted by Zam Baring, a delightfully enthusiastic chap, who took us on a tour of the vineyard (Burgess Field) and then introduced us to the various wines, which were all excellent. 

The vines were planted in 2011 the first harvest was the following year.  The winemaker is Harry Pickering. 

Today there are three sparklings and one still wine produced on site, in their own winery:

The Classic NV (£36) 41% Chardonnay, 36% Pinot Noir and 23% Pinot Meunier (classic champagne grapes) has notes of baked apple and brioche.

The Pink NV (£39), 60% Pinot Meunier and 40% Pinot Noir  is packed with notes of wild strawberry and raspberry and was really delicious. 

The star of the show was White from Black 2020  (£42) a 100% Pinot Meunier packed with luscious notes of stone and orchard fruits, and superb. 

There are a number of vineyard tours that will introduce you to The Grange wines throughout the summer. 

You can buy The Grange wines online at thegrangewine.co.uk. Try the Still Pink (£17), the vineyard’s second still wine, made from a single clone of Pinot Noir and packed with notes of berries and stone fruit, with a dry and rather moreish finish. 


The second vineyard we visited was Raimes, a family run business on the historic Tichborne Estate

Their Raimes’ farm stretches from the protected and ecologically diverse water meadows of the River Itchen, to the grassy rolling hills of the South Downs near Winchester.

It’s a busy working farm too, and the South Downs terroir is perfect for producing the finest English sparkling wine. 

Their wines start from £34 a bottle for the Single Vineyard 2019 Vintage Classic “An elegant wine, the palate is very expressive with ripe citrus, stone fruit, apple and pear,  soft fine mousse and delicate patisserie finish”.

They also have a Blanc de Blancs (100% Chardonnay) and Blanc de Noirs (100% Pinot Noir) a 2020 Vintage Rose and a demi-sec.

You can visit the vineyard for a tour and tasting, and wines are available to buy there at the Cellar Door. 

They are also available at good range of independent wine stores in the South and of course online 

Louis Pommery England

Last on our trip, but by no means least, was Louis Pommery England.

It’s part of Vranken-Pommery Monopole, the second largest champagne group in the world.

At the heart of Pommery’s wine making in the UK lies the illustrious Pinglestone Estate in New Alresford.

Pinglestone Estate’s Head Winemaker Will Perkins and Clément Pierlot, Champagne Pommery’s cellar master, are producing some delicious wines by blending English innovation with French traditions.  

Louis Pommery England Rosé has a delicate salmon pink hue with a persistent mousse.

The vibrant nose presents English hedgerow fruits of wild strawberry and raspberry, accompanied by alluring notes of apple blossom.

Louis Pommery England Brut has characters of green apple, fresh lemon and lime, and honeyed stone fruits with well-integrated bubbles and a delightful mineral finish. 

This finely balanced English sparkling wine is excellent value and available from Ocado, Waitrose, Majestic & Sainsbury’s RRP: £29.99

Canned Wine: The Uncommon

I also discovered a rather different company that produces lovely English Sparkling wines… in cans: The Uncommon

Spotting a gap in the market for a high quality, unconventional English wine, co-founders Henry Connell and Alex Thraves spent years retraining and cultivating their knowledge in wine before embarking on their uncommon journey in 2018.

The Uncommon uses only the finest champagne varietals (Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, Chardonnay) and Bacchus grapes (England’s answer to Sauvignon Blanc), grown and hand-picked from vineyards in Kent, Sussex and Hampshire.

The Uncommon is able to produce light and aromatic sparkling wines – designed to thrive in cans.

The English Bubbly White (70% Bacchus 30% Chardonnay) and English Bubbly Rose (100% Pinot Noir) are award-winning English sparkling wines, and the UK’s first canned English wine. 

Available for £5.99 rrp from Waitrose, Selfridges, M&S (Rosé only)  wearetheuncommon.co.uk 

Fancy a Trip to a Vineyard?

And if you fancy taking a trip to visit one of our many English vineyards, I found a very helpful guide recently on the website Hot Dinners that details the best vineyards near London for day trips (and overnight stays). 

See link here