What's so special about Gusbourne?
Despite only being in the wine game since the turn of the millennium (their first release was in 2006), this English vineyard has forged quite the reputation for its wines. They're currently the only three-time winner of the International Wine & Spirits Challenge English Wine Producer of the Year. Their Blanc de Blancs 2016 won Platinum at this year's Decanter World Wine Awards. So it's fair to say they're a pretty big deal in the English wine world. You will almost certainly have seen their wines on lists at some of the best restaurants in London, including Core by Clare Smyth, Restaurant Story and The Ritz.
Where is it?
You'll find the main part of the vineyard in Appledore Kent (named because it used to be an orchard back in the 1400s rather than a vineyard). Gusbourne occupies a really beautiful stretch of this part of Kent, with vines running down the hillside and the south coast on the horizon.
The story behind it is that South African orthopaedic surgeon Andrew Weeber spotted the land's similarity to his home in Stellanbosh when he was here visiting his daughter. He decided to buy some land and create a vineyard to see if he was right about its suitability for grape growing (it was a good decision).
How do I get there?
It's a super easy trip from London. Take the fast train from St Pancras and you're in Ashford in under 40 minutes. From there, it's about a ten-minute taxi ride to Gusbourne.
What kind of tours do they offer?
We've been to quite a few English vineyards but we were properly impressed by the set-up at Gusbourne. They've made the most of their gorgeous setting to create a whole variety of places to enjoy their wines on-site, from tasting tables under great oaks to more formal (and weatherproofed) tasting rooms.
There are three tours on offer - a Vineyard Tour, Discovery Tour and Estate Tour. All include a guided tour of the vineyard, with the more expensive options including tastings and lunch. We were signed up to the top of the range Estate Tour. Here's how that went.
Whether you're happy enough to do a self-guided tour when you visit an English vineyard, or would like the full shebang with an expert tasting and locavore lunch, there's something at Gusbourne for everyone. It really is an easy (and lovely) day out for Londoners with it being less than an hour from the city to the cellar door. And that's all before we even get to the wines themselves, which are excellent. Highly recommended.
More about the Gusbourne Estate Tour
Where is it? Kenardington Rd, Appledore, Ashford TN26 2BE
How much? £95 per person
How to book: Book online.
Hot Dinners visited as guests of Gusbourne. Prices correct at time of publication.
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