more English wine -Chapel Down visit and lunch

Driving along the road we passed an old WW II airfield complete with light aircraft swooping by overhead. “You know when you watch those old WW II movies with stock shots of an English field and airbase with the subtitle, ‘Somewhere in England?’ Well, this is where they got that footage, ” said Frazer Thompson, my rather informative and charming host from Chapel Down Winery. We were on our way to the vineyard just outside the town of Headcorn in deepest Kent when we passed the airfield. It’s always nice to get out of the city and appreciate nature in all it’s beauty and I couldn’t have picked a better place to spend an early summers day then the “garden of England” as Kent is so often referred to. And rightly so, the land is perfectly suited to grow everything from apples to strawberries and Kent is the centrepoint of hop production for real English ale. I’d read stories of East Enders descending on Kent in the summer to pick the hops (amongst other things – *wink*) during the first half of the 20th century but only had a hazy idea of where that was in relation to London. And now, here I was, smack dab in the middle of all those lovely hops, I swear I could smell them in the air. But I wasn’t there for ale, I was there for the wines of Chapel Down. Their Tenterden vineyard is sitting on some great wine producing land. The soils of the area are clay with sandy bottom layers which provide excellent drainage as well as the even better chalky limestone soils. Those two soil types make for excellent grapegrowing potential and Chapel Down amongst others is taking full advantage of nature’s gifts. Kent is located along the famed Kimmeridgian ridge which is a shallow sea that has now been lifted above sea level and provides the limestone soils that Champagne is famous for, which allow it to produce it’s distinctive sparkling wines...

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