Chapel Down is a winery located in the lovely village of Tenterden in Kent. My friend bought me a tour and tasting experience (for two!) for my birthday.
Chapel Down wines are getting a bit of a name for themselves in our area. There’s a number of local restaurants that offer Chapel Down wines, including a few of the big names in London. Not to name drop, but Jamie Oliver’s and Gordon Ramsay’s restaurants, plus The Royal Opera House.
The tour starts in the vineyard, amongst the grapes. Our guide talked us through how and when the grapes are grown and harvested. Chapel Down has a number of vineyards, including the one in Tenterden. There’s also a vineyard at Kits Coty, which is an area near Bluebell Hill in Chatham. I’ve been to the Kits Coty restaurant a number of times and never realised that when you are looking out at the view, you are overlooking some of the finest vineyards in the country.
Unfortunately, when we visited, it couldn’t have been a worse day for pouring rain. Just a few minutes into the tour, we were being drenched and we had to head inside, so our guide could tell us more about the vineyard without the fear that we would be washed away.
During the tour, we were shown the machinery and the processes that take place to make the wine. The machinery is impressive and I can’t even imagine how much this is scaled up for some of the bigger producers. Chapel Down make quite a modest amount of English wine in comparison. They are producing quality wine, using local grapes in an area which has soil similar to that of the Champagne region, but I feel they have big, ambitious plans for the future.
Chapel Down is probably most famous for its sparkling wine. I would highly recommend you treat yourself (or someone else) to a bottle. It’s made in the same way traditional way as champagne and is truly delicious.
After the tour, we were invited to the wine sanctuary where we enjoyed a tutored tasting. The tasting was really interesting as our guide was really likeable and knowledgeable. My friend and I actually had very different likes and dislikes about the wines we tasted. It was really fascinating to compare the different wines and taste the different blends.
As part of the tour, I received a gift set which contained a bottle of the amazing Three Graces sparkling wine and some tasty Chapel Down chocolates.
This was a lovely experience to receive. If you know of someone who likes a tipple, I’d highly recommend it. Chapel Down is definitely making a name for its self and their wines are superb. There’s a shop on site, where you can purchase the wines. Plus, they have lots of other lovely artisan products on sale there. There’s also a very nice looking restaurant called The Swan, where you can visit for lunch or dinner.
Tour prices start at £15 per person, experience packages are more. The tour lasts about 2 hours.
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