South East England

Buckinghamshire, Hampshire, Kent, Oxfordshire, Surrey, E & W Sussex

Stopham Vineyard

Simon Woodhead used to work in Formula One racing. Now he's overseeing his young vineyard as it heads towards full production. Planted in 2007 with a selection weighted towards his favoured region, Alsace, the first full harvest took place in 2010.

  • Tours

Surrey Hills Road Race Festival

Denbies Wine Estate
28 July 2012 - 29 July 2012

Calling all Olympians and cycle lovers, what’s the best way to start the Olympic fortnight proper? Head to Surrey’s award-winning vineyard, Denbies, to see the Men’s Race on Saturday and the Women’s on Sunday.

The UK's largest vineyard, Denbies is hosting a major bike Expo and local food and drink festival to mark the race traversing its vines, along the A24 on the way to the challenging Box Hill circuits. 

Box Steam Funnel Blower

Have to say, I'm loving Box Steam's new-look, with its inspiration coming from that genius of the South-West, Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

And this Wlltshire-created Funnel Blower tastes as good as its outward appearanc might suggest.

A stout with depth, plenty of dark chocolate and coffee flavours, with notes of vanilla coming through. Its name? Well no sooner had Brunel set sail with the Great Eastern, the world's biggest boat, when an explosion blew off one of her five funnels.

Wychwood Ginger Beard

Have to admit, I love ginger beer. Not the sickly sweet ones. Those that prickle the back of the nose with a invigorating fieriness. 

But I'd never really given much thought to drinking them with food. Then yesterday I saw the light. We were matching Sriram Aylur's delectable canapés at Quilon with a range of fruit and ginger beers, and to my mind – and several others too – Ginger Beard proved a pretty versatile tipple.

4.2%, RRP: £1.75, 50ml; Morrisons, Asda, Sainsburys, Ocado

Curious Brew Lager

One week after winning Wine of the Year for its Bacchus Reserve 2010, Chapel Down Winery has won another major award – for beer this time! 

Curious Brew Lager has picked up Gold in the International Beer Challenge, one of only 30 brews to do so. 

Available at a range of bars, pubs and restaurants, and by the case from Chapel Down, £29.99, 24x33cl

Tinwood Estate Diamond Jubilee Picnic

2 June 2012 - 5 June 2012

Located within minutes of both Goodwood and Chichester, Tinwood Estate at the foot of the South Downs National Park has been growing grapes for a while, being a proud supplier to the world-beating RidgeView Estate a few miles away near Ditchling. Now it has decided to make its own wine, and this event will be the first time the gates open to the public.

Sparkling train vineyard tour & dinner

Denbies Wine Estate
6 July 2013 - 21 September 2013

Travel in style around one of Europe's largest vineyards, Denbies, before heading to The Gallery restaurant for dinner.

Let the train take the strain as you tour the vineyard, nestling on the South Downs near Dorking. 

Various Saturdays through the year. Tickets available from the winery: £55

Upperton Vineyard - Tour & Afternoon Tea

2 June 2012 - 10 June 2012

To celebrate English Wine Week and its first season open to the public, the Rogers family at Upperton Vineyard in West Sussex are offering a special Tour & Afternoon Tea events. 

Begin with a tour led by one of the family of the vineyards and find out about the grape varieties and organic methods use. Finish with a proper tea, complete with sandwiches, scones, cake and pastry – plus a glass of Upperton's sparkling wine Nebula.

Chiltern Brewery Sparkling Jubilee Ale

Smart and celebratory – and hand-labelled by the brewers and their team – Chiltern’s Jubilee Sparkling Ale is amber in colour, with tropical banana notes on the nose, plenty of apricot and peaches, and a pleasant earthy finish. 

In a limited edition of 1000 bottles, serve lightly chilled in either champagne flutes or wine glasses. 

Element 20 2010

Element 20 2010 is one of the most complex still English wines I have tasted, with a fine juxtaposition between the tart zestiness of the Bacchus and the stone-fruit complexity of low-yielding, barrel-fermented Chardonnay.

With hints of honey and acacia, and a seriously long finish, this is a great example of what can be achieved – admittedly with more than a little care and attention. But then the winemaking duo behind this, Aussie John Worontschak and Kiwi Sam Harrop MW, have created wines of depth all around the globe.

RRP £20, available from a range of independent shops, including The VineKing, Dorking; The Sampler, Islington; Noel Young Wines; for full list see Litmus Wines