Tips on tours & learnings 2022


  • Vineyard tours usually run April-September.  In March you’ll see the start of shoot growth and in May flowering and fruit set.  From June to September you’ll see the grapes developing and véraison -when the black varieties start to redden and white varieties become more golden as they ripen.
  • It’s possible to help out at harvest at many vineyards – sign up to mailing lists and keep an eye on social media for dates.  I didn’t get to experience this, but I hope to in 2023!
  • Sturdy shoes are a must as vineyard ground can be uneven.  If you have mobility issues, I’d suggest contacting the vineyard in advance of your tour.  Do dress for the outdoors too!
  • Although many of the vineyards I visited supplied drinking water, it’s a good idea to take your own to freshen your palate between tastings.
  • Do make a note of your favourites as you taste the wine – and sign up to the vineyard mailing list for special offers.
  • The tastings are a great opportunity to ask what temperature the wine should be served, which foods it matches well and whether it will improve with age or should be drunk now.
  • There’s never any pressure to buy, but many vineyards will offer a discount if you purchase direct from them during the tour.
  • Do drink responsibly and ensure you have a sober driver (but remember you can always taste and spit).


I found I learnt something new at every single vineyard tour!  It’s also a fantastic opportunity to ask questions (although being mindful of time and others on the tour).  Here are a few of my key learnings this year.

  • There are multiple approaches and choices in both vine growing and winemaking – and every choice at every stage will have an effect on the taste of the end product.
  • Increasing understanding of the process enhances enjoyment of the wine.
  • The change in climate has allowed grapes in England to ripen just enough to create exciting sparkling wines – as well as some still wine varieties such as Bacchus. 
  • Oz Clarke reckons dry weather is more important than latitude – and East Anglia (where I’ve been exploring vineyards) is very dry!
  • I’m really interested to see the impact of our unusually warm summer this year – and how this shapes the English wines we’ll be drinking next year.

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