Located just 2 miles from Ross-on-Wye town centre, lies one of our county’s best kept secrets for those in search of a unique wine experience deep in the Herefordshire countryside. Wythall Estate nestles against the slopes of Bulls Hill and we were lucky to book our wine tour on what turned out to be a gloriously sunny day in August. As we approached the beautiful Grade I listed half-timber framed Tudor house, we could tell immediately that this was a very special place. We were warmly met by Anthea, husband Frank and brother Jamie who run the estate and our tour began outside on the gravel driveway where Frank gave us an excellent introduction to vine management, demonstrating the tools and equipment he personally uses to maintain the health of the sprawling vines literally just a stone’s throw away from us.
Leading us through the vineyards, Frank showed us Wythall Estate’s unique selection of vines which were starting to show encouraging signs of growth, ready for the autumn harvest where the wine production starts in earnest. Grapes include pinot noir, rondo, orion and the lesser-known siegerrebe which is used to produce their own champagne-style sparkling white (‘style‘, because despite the fact that it is produced using exactly the same process as champagne, legally it cannot be called as such).
The estate’s own microclimate ensures that its award-winning wines can rival some of the most high profile wine producers on an international stage. This is mainly due to the protective terrain which prevents damage during the cold months and ensures maximum warmth from the sun during summer months – the perfect balance for growing exceptional wine. As we followed Frank through the fields, we were struck by the stunning surroundings – the vineyards are hugged by swathes of wild flowers and flanked by the peaceful sound of a small stream which runs between the house and the vineyards on the other side. The tour circled back to the manor house, passing the two dog-friendly self catering cottages which are attached to the main house and sit adjacent to the beautifully maintained lake on the forecourt.
Jamie greeted us and led us to our wine tasting in the old dining room which could transport you back a few centuries, complete with open fireplace, vintage furniture, part stone, part timber-framed walls and floors with huge flagstones. We tested the full range of wines produced on the estate including the white Siegerrebe, two reds (a Pinot Noir and Estate Red), their stunning Sparkling Rosé made from a blend of Orion and Rondo grapes (the aroma akin to a bowl of freshly picked strawberries). We finished with their Special Reserve signature sparkling white, a pale golden colour with a very unique baked apple flavour made exclusively from their Orion grapes – perfect for any special occasion. All of Wythall Estate wines have won awards at major European and International competitions and are stocked in a small handful of delicatessens and local gastro pubs, including Truffles Delicatessen in Ross-on-Wye.
Tours are available a couple of times a month until the end of the year (view available dates at https://wythallestate.co.uk/vineyard.html) – the perfect excuse to spoil your loved one on their birthday or maybe even book a group tour with friends this Christmas and learn about the team’s plans for the next generation of wine production. Contact Anthea to book, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01989 566868.