With the warmer weather upon us, it’s hard to beat a crisp, cold white wine on a summer’s evening watching the sun set on our Herefordshire skyline. And with the start of English Wine Week (17-25 June) we celebrate the best of British wines and local vineyards, all within a short driving distance of Ross-on-Wye.
Our top five vineyards in Herefordshire, Gloucestershire and also just over the border in Wales, are all producers of award winning wines – some run their own wine tours or you can pick up their unique vintages online or from local stockists to enjoy at home or for a special picnic by the riverside.
Let’s get the ball rolling with one of our own international award winning Ross-on-Wye vineyards, just a couple of miles’ drive from the town centre. Located adjacent to a beautiful Grade I listed half-timber framed Tudor house, the vineyard is nestled against gently sloping hills and has its own unique microclimate which is reflected in its stunning range of red, white, rosé and sparkling wines. Book onto a wine tour or kick back and relax at one of their lakeside Wine Garden Open Days this summer, running until the end of September. Enjoy a charcuterie or cheese board washed down with some of their best tipples surrounded by birdsong and nature – what could be more relaxing? Book in advance by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Location: Bull’s Hill, Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire HR9 5SD
- Getting there: a 5 minute drive from Ross-on-Wye town centre by car or taxi.
Another award-winning vineyard located in Ross-on-Wye is the Castle Brook Vineyard, named after the farmhouse located at the bottom of the vineyard and an ancient building mentioned in the 1086 Domesday Book as a coaching inn, with links to both the ruins of Penyard Castle and the Coughton Brook. Owned by the Chinn family, best known for producing Wye Valley Asparagus at Cobrey Farms, the vineyard was first planted in 2004 on the site of an ancient Roman vineyard. Their range of three award-winning sparkling wines – made in the same traditional way as champagne using Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay grapes – have picked up international accolades including gold and silver medals at prestigious awards including the Decanter World Wine Awards, the Champagne and Sparkling Wine World Championships and the South West Vineyards Association awards. Available to buy online at the Castle Brook website, the wines are also available at outlets including Hereford’s Secret Bottle Shop as well as national retailers Waitrose and M&S.
- Location: Coughton, Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire HR9 5SG
- Getting there: just over 10 minute drive from Ross-on-Wye town centre.
Located around 12 miles from Ross-on-Wye, the Sixteen Ridges Vineyard in Ledbury, not only produces multi-award winning wines but is also an award winning craft English cider producer. Planted in 2007, this 2.4 hectare vineyard was originally planted with Pinot Noir grapes, renowned for thriving in the UK climate. Simon Day, Sixteen Ridges’ director and winemaker, grew up on an English vineyard and has 25 years’ experience making wine in England and abroad and has developed a range wines using mainly Pinot Noir but also Bacchus and Regent grapes, all extremely popular in UK wine making due to its cooler climate. If you like Beaujolais Nouveau, try a bottle of their unique English Nouveau, not made from the traditional Gamay grape, but using their fruity and light-bodied ‘Early Pinot Noir’. Buy from their online shop here or contact them for details by emailing email@example.com or calling 01531 637119.
- Location: Haygrove Evolution, Little Marcle Road, Ledbury, Herefordshire HR8 2JL
- Getting there: a 20 minute drive from Ross-on-Wye.
Combining the full wine experience of vineyard, wine tours, tastings, brasserie and accommodation, the Three Choirs Vineyard is the perfect day out from Ross-on-Wye, located just 10 miles away in Newent. Take a tour along the edges of the 75 acre vineyard, first planted in 1973, and into the winery, learning about the onsite wine making process from grape to bottle. After sampling a selection of their award winning wines, why not book a table on the vine-clad terrace at their Vineyard Brasserie which has stunning views overlooking the vineyard? Tapas-style plates and sharing platters are available for lunch including delicious cheese boards supplied by Taynton Farm Shop (cheeses also available every Thursday from Ross-on-Wye town centre markets). Lunch is available on Saturdays and Sundays from 12pm-2pm and dinner from 6pm-8pm daily (booking essential). To visit or book a tour, contact them by calling 01531 890223 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Location: Baldwins Farm, Newent, Gloucestershire GL18 1LS
- Getting there: 15-20 minute drive by car or taxi or take the number 232 bus to Ledbury from Cantilupe Road, Ross-on-Wye and walk 5 minutes to the vineyard.
Located just over the border in Monmouthshire, this award winning biodynamic vineyard – where only natural products are used in the wine-making process – creates stunning organic wines with the processes focusing heavily on sustainability and biodiversity. The 12 hectares of vineyards are perfectly positioned for optimum sunshine on south facing slopes within the beautiful Wye Valley AONB and the wine is produced on terroir comprising ancient mudstone and sandstone soils, giving these unique wines natural, full flavours. As well as their fantastic range of reds, whites and sparkling wines, they have introduced two unique styles including their Orange Wine (a sparkling hit of tangerine and herbs using mostly Albariño grapes also used extensively in Galician wines) and Pet Nat (or pétillant naturel, a light, fizzy red wine made from the lesser known Triomphe grape and with sour cherry and damson notes). Their wines are available from many stockists in the UK plus further afield in Canada, Hong Kong and Singapore. For further information call 01600 714152 or email them at email@example.com (they don’t advertise vineyard tours anymore so call to check for private arrangements).
- Location: Ancre Hill Estates, Monmouth NP25 5HS
- Getting there: although not open for tours, you can get there by car or taxi or take the number 34 bus to Monmouth from Cantilupe Road, Ross-on-Wye and walk 20 minutes from Monmouth town centre.