Road trip to Davenport Vineyard (and video)

What better way to spend a lovely early spring day ( and my birthday) then a day out in the English countryside, visiting an English vineyard. No sniggers, please. England has been making wines since Roman times but only as recently as the 90’s have the English really gotten serious about producing quality wines. Whether it has to do with global warming or not, some are now winning major wine awards. Thanks to Nytimber, Denbies, Camel Valley and Hush Heath (which I’ve written about previously) to name a few, England is quickly gaining a  reputation in the wine world for producing quality sparkling wines (and still wines are coming up), having won a number of international wine  accolades and awards. I visited Davenport Vineyards in Rotherfield, East Sussex with Kathryn O’Mara from Artisan & Vine. She’s keen on sourcing as many natural and local wines as possible for her winebar so we were down to try the local stuff. Once there, we discovered that Davenport is also a natural, organic farm – bonus! We were greeted by a friendly black labrador, Nelson, and after picking out way through the hodge-podge of building materials laying about – they are currently renovating their 14th century barn, we found Will Davenport in his lab testing his latest wines for sulfur content. Will is the owner and winemaker of Davenport and originally planted his vines in 1991. Currently there are 12 acres under vine and the vineyard has been managed organically since 2000 under certification by the UK Soil Association. Will tries to use as little intervention as possible – natural yeasts, no fining or filtering, no pesticides, fungicides and he uses organic winemaking practices. Will aims to make wines that showcase the soil and the fruit of his wines, not his wine manipulating skills. We had the opportunity to try the Limney Estate, ’07 Horsmunden Dry White, the Limney Estate ’05 sparkling and the Duchy of Cornwall Sparkling, which Will makes for the Prince’s Trust. Check out the video to see...

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