How UK sparkling wine is giving the Champagne region a run for its money

Sex Drugs and Bacon Rolls made a late autumn visit to an English sparkling wine producer –  Daws Hill Vineyard – which is in the rolling hills of the Chilterns. A small vineyard that is family run and incredibly welcoming. The road to Daws Hill is stunning, though slightly terrifying (single file road with a sheer cliff) and is tucked away from towns and big villages.

We were welcomed by our host, and owner Holly, who inherited the vineyard from her father. was 100% relaxed, yet clearly 100% passionate to follow in the family tradition. Her character is replicated in the wine: fresh, young and adventurous. With Holly as a guide, visiting the vineyard felt relaxed, honest and welcoming. Always keen to take an inclusive approach, she told us how she invites the WI in to help her pick the grapes and visits local markets to sell her wares.

We were given a tour of the vineyards and the main room where they create the wine, as well as the sparkling cider – delicious! And were surprised at how similar to Champagne it was.

We shouldn’t have been so surprised in reality, as Daws Hill’s geography mirrors the Champagne region. The soil, altitude and temperature are very similar, although with that comes many of the same issues – such as frost, disease, mildew and rot – that challenge Champagne each year.

So, for grape pickers, as well as sparkling wine drinkers, Daws Hill really is the dream. We couldn’t have been made to feel more welcome…or more envious…of this most picture-perfect place. Yes, they have to deal with the huge challenges English growers – not to mention those of every other country – are faced with, but boy were we inspired!

Holly does weekend tours in the spring, summer and autumn at a wallet friendly price. The closest station is high Wycombe – a short 30min trip from Marylebone.

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