10 Best Vineyards For Wine Tasting In Kent

Mention “English wine” and most people think of Champagne-like bubblies from the South of England. Kent, located in the southeast corner, often gets overlooked.

But this coastal county has experienced explosive growth in vineyards and wine production over the last two decades. With over 500 vineyards now, Kent has cemented its status as one of the top wine-producing regions in the UK.

For wine lovers visiting England, Kent’s wineries deserve a spot on your itinerary. But the sheer number of options can be overwhelming to navigate.

This article will highlight the 10 best vineyards that should be on your list for a superior English wine tasting experience. From family-run estates to scenic vineyards with restaurants, read on for an insider’s guide to wine tasting in Kent.

An Introduction to Wine Production in Kent

Kent’s winemaking history stretches back centuries, but it wasn’t until the 1960s that larger commercial vineyards appeared. Recent years have seen vast expansion, thanks to ideal growing conditions.

The chalky soils and relatively hot climate combine to produce high-quality grapes well-suited for sparkling wines as well as crisp, aromatic whites.

Classic grape varieties grown in Kent include Bacchus, Ortega, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir. With so many vineyards now operating in Kent, narrowing down the options for visitors can be difficult.

The wineries listed below have been selected based on quality of wine, tasting facilities, additional amenities like restaurants, and overall experience for guests.

Whether you prefer an intimate tasting at a family-run estate or a lively wine festival atmosphere, Kent has a vineyard suited for you.

Top 10 Kent Vineyards for Wine Tasting

Top 10 Kent Vineyards for Wine Tasting

With over 500 vineyards now operating in Kent, narrowing down the options for visitors can be an overwhelming task. The wineries selected below have been chosen based on quality of wine, tasting facilities, dining and amenities, and overall experience for guests.

Whether you prefer an intimate wine flight at a family-run estate or a lively festival atmosphere, Kent has a vineyard suited for every wine lover.

1. Mount Vineyard, Shoreham

Mount Vineyard embodies the epic potential of Kent wine in a spectacular setting. Established in 1988, this family-run estate crowns a hillside overlooking the picturesque Darenth Valley.

The south-facing slopes and free-draining chalk soils provide prime conditions for growing Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Bacchus grapes. Stroll up to the beautifully converted Oast House, where hop flowers were once dried.

Now it hosts airy, modern tasting rooms where you can sample or purchase their full range of wines. Sip a crisp Bacchus on the patio with scenic vistas all around.

For a complete experience, indulge in wood-fired pizzas or fresh seasonal plates at their on-site restaurant, “The Nest”. With its gourmet farm-to-table fare, Mt Vineyard satisfies more than just wine cravings.

Wines to Try: Mt Vineyard Bacchus, Pinot Noir Rosé, Classic Cuvée Sparkling

Price Range: ££

Wine Quality: 5/5

Tasting Experience: 4/5

2. Hush Heath Estate, Staplehurst

Hush Heath Estate, Staplehurst

For an insider’s experience of a working English winery, head to Hush Heath Estate. 400 pristine acres of vineyards unfurl across the low hills of this family-owned property in central Kent.

Under the leadership of co-owner Victoria Ash, Hush Heath has rocketed to fame in recent years with award-winning sparkling and aromatic white wines.

Schedule a tour of the modern winery to observe how their wines go from vine to bottle. Try limited edition oaked Chardonnays direct from the barrel in the tasting room. Sip the straw-yellow Balfour Leslie’s Reserve overlooking the estate’s vines and apple orchards.

To complete the wine and food pairing, book a table at The Goudge restaurant. Michelin-starred chef Adam Handling delivers seasonal British cuisine like roast pheasant and curried venison with perfect wine matches.

With its scenic wine trail and hands-on experiences, Hush Heath offers full immersion into English wine country.

Wines to Try: Balfour Skye’s English Rosé, Balfour Leslie’s Reserve Chardonnay, Hush Heath Pinot Gris

Price Range: ££

Wine Quality: 5/5

Tasting Experience: 5/5

3. Squerryes, Westerham

On an idyllic hilltop in the picturesque Weald of Kent sits the elegant Georgian manor of Squerryes. Family-owned since 1681, Squerryes boasts equally deep winemaking roots.

Its south-facing vineyards were first planted back in 1731, making it one of the oldest wineries in England.

Squerryes specializes in premium sparkling wines crafted using the Traditional Method. Take a self-guided Vineyard Trail through the estate’s 80 acres of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier.

Enjoy stunning views across the surrounding countryside from Squerryes’ hilltop perch.

Afterwards, sample their crisp, Mineral Reserve in the original timbered areas of the manor. For a memorable treat, indulge in a leisurely lunch on the terrace of their fine dining restaurant.

With a menu focused on seasonal ingredients from local farms, it’s no wonder Squerryes Wine Estate feels like an idyllic English wine getaway.

Wines to Try: Squerryes Brut, Rosé Brut, Mineral Reserve

Price Range: £££

Wine Quality: 4/5
Tasting Experience: 4/5

4. Chapel Down Winery, Tenterden

Chapel Down Winery, Tenterden

No article about English wine is complete without Chapel Down. Based in Tenterden, they are the largest wine producer in the UK. Their vast success has made Chapel Down synonymous with English wines.

Chapel Down boasts an impressive range of still wines, but finesse sparkling wines are their crown jewel. Take a winery tour to see how they create their flagship Kit’s Coty Coeur de Cuvée.

Or head straight to The Wine Worksshop, where you can taste wines by the glass or bottle on their terrace. With stunning vineyard views, it’s an idyllic place to sample fine English wines.

For the complete food and wine experience, indulge in a meal at their on-site restaurant. With menus crafted around Chapel Down wines, you can explore perfect pairings with local seafood, meats, and farm produce.

Don’t miss their big wine festivals held here throughout the year. With live music, local foods, and merriment, they capture the essence of the English wine celebration.

Wines to Try: Kit’s Coty Coeur de Cuvée, Flint Dry, English Rosé

Price Range: ££
Wine Quality: ⅘

Tasting Experience: 5/5

5. Biddenden Vineyards, Biddenden

For a delightful tasting experience steeped in history, visit Biddenden Vineyards. Founded in 1969, it was one of the first English wineries in Kent. The Barnard family proudly continues the winemaking tradition across 45 acres today.

Wander through their picturesque orchards and vineyards on a self-guided audio tour. Try sweet ciders crafted from their heirloom apples before sampling the wines. The family’s German heritage shines in whites like Ortega, Bacchus, and Gewürztraminer.

Biddenden’s showstopper is their sparkling wine crafted through the traditional bottle fermented method. The low-key, farm-like setting also makes Biddenden Vineyards a favourite for families.

Enjoy a picnic amid the vines or relax on the veranda of their timber-framed tasting room. With its old-fashioned charm and welcoming atmosphere, Biddenden evokes the humble roots of English wine.

Wines to Try: Ortega Dry White, Rosé, Pinot Reserve Sparkling

Price Range: £

Wine Quality: ⅘

Tasting Experience: 4/5

6. Simpsons Wine Estate, Barfrestone

Simpsons Wine Estate, Barfrestone

For a world-class English wine experience, look no further than Simpsons Wine Estate. Their boutique operation in Barfrestone dates back to 1870 and has racked up awards ever since.

Simpsons has earned the “Best English Wine Tourism Experience” an astounding 5 consecutive years.

At Simpsons Wine Estate, you’re welcomed as a guest rather than a customer. After a vineyard stroll, settle in their charming Garden Room for an intimate tasting.

The Simpsons craft Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier, and sparkling wines, notably a decadent Chalklands Cuvée.

For the ultimate food pairing, book a lunch or dinner in their restaurant overlooking the vines. With a frequently changing menu from Head Chef Lee Faulkner, each course sings with wine selections from their cellar.

Simpsons’ warm hospitality and outstanding wines make it a true standout.

Wines to Try: Chardonnay Reserve, Bacchus, Chalklands Cuvée

Price Range: ££

Wine Quality: 5/5
Tasting Experience: 5/5

7. Domaine Evremond, Saltwood

For a taste of true Champagne-style wines made in England, head to Domaine Evremond. The acclaimed Champagne house Duval-Leroy acquired this historic Saltwood estate in 2017. Their goal? Produce a flagship English sparkling to rival the finest French.

The state-of-the-art winery and pristine vineyards set a sophisticated tone. During your tasting at the cellar door, learn how they craft each wine meticulously from vine to bottle.

The Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs, aged five years on the lees, has already earned rave reviews from critics. With its sense of refinement and quality, Domaine Evremond enters a exciting new chapter for English wine.

Wines to Try: Blanc de Blancs, Blanc de Noirs, Rosé Brut

Price Range: £££
Wine Quality: 5/5

Tasting Experience: 4/5

8. Ancre Hill Estates, Monmouth

Ancre Hill Estates, Monmouth

Nestled in the Welsh hills, Ancre Hill Estates may sit just over the Kent border—but it’s well worth the visit for award-winning English sparkling.

Their family-owned vineyard follows biodynamic principles for natural, sustainable winemaking. The Milton family spares no effort crafting superior traditional method sparkling wines.

Opt for an intimate tasting paired with local charcuterie, cheeses, and breads. Try their Blanc de Blancs with complex notes of green apple, brioche, and lemon. The Ancre Hill Rosé evokes fruity aromas of strawberry and raspberry.

Visitors laud the warm, unpretentious welcome at their rural tasting room. Stop by on weekends during summer to enjoy cream teas under vine-covered pergolas—quintessentially English.

Wines to Try: Ancre Hill Blanc de Blancs, Rosé, Triomphe

Price Range: ££

Wine Quality: 5/5

Tasting Experience: 5/5

9. Gusbourne Estate, Appledore

For a premium tasting experience, visit the sleek Gusbourne Estate set amid the gentle hills of Appledore.

Inspired by traditional Champagne houses, Gusbourne crafts elegant sparkling and still wines. Their painstaking approach has earned accolades from the International Wine Challenge.

Start by touring their modern, minimalist winery—a stunning contrast to most old-fashioned English wine sites. Their vineyard team will explain Gusbourne’s viticulture and winemaking philosophy in detail.

Afterwards, retire to their tasting suite for a seated guided flight. Take in views of the estate’s 300 acres of rolling vineyards and lake from their Vineyard Room.

Trying Gusbourne’s flawless wines in this refined setting makes for an unforgettable wine tasting experience.

Wines to Try: Blanc de Blancs 2013, Pinot Noir 2017, Rosé 2015

Price Range: £££

Wine Quality: 5/5

Tasting Experience: 4/5

10. Dunwich Estate Vineyard, Canterbury

Dunwich Estate Vineyard, Canterbury

A passion project of the Harris family, Dunwich Estate Vineyard produces small-batch wines on secluded ancient woodlands near Canterbury. Their winding country lanes open up to reveal scenic vineyards dotted with sheep and wildlife.

Dunwich’s relaxing tasting room features floor-to-ceiling glass windows overlooking the vines. Strike up a conversation with knowledgeable staff over a tasting selection.

Their crisp, dry whites like Bacchus pair perfectly with vine-ripened Kentish cherries. Sip their delicate Pinot Noir rosé on a vineyard picnic for the quintessential English wine experience.

With its sustainable approach and picturesque, natural setting, a visit to Dunwich Estate feels like an escape to the countryside. It’s an under-the-radar vineyard worthy of more renown.

Wines to Try: Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir Rosé, Bacchus

Price Range: £

Wine Quality: ⅘

Tasting Experience: 5/5

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Planning Your English Wine Tasting Tour in Kent

With so many excellent vineyards and wines to discover, dedicating at least a day or two to visiting Kent wineries is recommended.

Here are some tips for planning the perfect wine tasting getaway:

  • Hire a Driver: Having a designated driver allows you to safely sample wines without worrying about transport. Companies like English Wine Tasting Tours offer private tastings and tours across Kent’s vineyards.
  • Take the Train: Many of Kent’s vineyards are accessible from train stations like Marden, Staplehurst, and Headcorn. Use trains as transport between wineries for a stress-free experience.
  • Book Tours or Meals in Advance: For premium vineyards like Chapel Down, advance booking is required for experiences like in-depth tours and multi-course meals paired with wine.
  • Visit Mid-week: Most vineyards are less crowded on weekdays if you want a more relaxed, exclusive tasting experience.
  • Time Your Visit: Harvest season from September-October provides an exciting chance to see vineyards at work. Vineyards also offer fun events and festivals during summer weekends.
  • Sip Responsibly: Kentish wines are highly drinkable, but be sure to drink lots of water and pace yourself when sampling multiple vineyards.
  • Stay Nearby: Rather than day trips from London, stay overnight in the countryside to fully experience the wineries over multiple days.

With its impressive selection of vineyards in a compact area, Kent offers wine lovers the perfect opportunity to taste England’s answer to Champagne.

As the English wine renaissance continues gaining momentum, now is the time to discover these world-class wine producers right on your doorstep. Let Kent’s spectacular vineyards and eminently quaffable bubblies delight your senses on the ultimate English wine tour.

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