We spent 3 days in Champagne, France and 3 days in Sussex/Kent/Surrey in England, and even with 3 months, we would have been hard pressed to visit all of the top tier wineries of each country.
In our planning, we always target different scales of vineyards- from those that produce millions of bottles to those that produce a few thousand. This gives us a good overall
perspective of the dynamics of a particular wine region.
Accordingly our visits to Champagne and England had visits to the large-scale producers as well as the very small ‘Mom-Pop’ wineries. With that in mind, we had some wonderful visits at wineries on both scales. So here they are: my top 5 winery visits of Champagne and England:
#5 Champagne Jacquesson– their house style emphasizes barrel aging and traditional wood wine presses so the visit here is a glimpse into the way winemaking used to be. You may not like the style but you will like the visit.
#4 Denbies Surrey- this is one of the largest wineries in England and has a fabulous facility that rivals anything you’ve seen. And their new film on how to make sparkling wine is, as one of our participants observed, ‘the best he has ever seen.’ If you want to learn and see how traditional method sparkling wine is made, this is the place. And they have a superb restaurant overlooking the vineyards.
#3 Mumm– just the UNESCO wine cellars from the Roman times is alone worth the visit.
But you’ll also be walking amongst 25 million bottles of sleeping Champagne.
#2 High Clandon Surrey- if you get to Denbies which is a short ride from Gatwick Airport, you should allow time to visit this nearby winery.It received an award for the best cellar door (winery visit) in England yet only produces a max of 2,000 bottles.And the view from the terrace is remarkable.
#1 My favorite visit in Champagne was Météyer, located in the small village of Trélou-sur-Marne. It is a medium sized family-owned winery with a top-notch museum that is as fascinating as it is educational. And with advanced notice they will arrange an amazing wine and food pairing.