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Best vineyards and wine tasting in the Cotswolds

Posted: Thu, 22nd Feb 2024
Best vineyards in the Cotswolds

This picturesque pocket of England may not be the first place that springs to mind when you think of wine. However, it is home to several excellent wineries, and we’ve pulled together our thoughts on the best vineyards and wine tasting in the Cotswolds. Some are small, family-run enterprises but still manage to raise eyebrows on the world wine stage. All on our list offer tours and tastings, although in most cases you will need to book in advance. We have also included two of our wonderful suppliers that offer ‘in your cottage’ wine-tasting experiences, so everyone can indulge.

Woodchester Valley

Set in the rolling hills of the southern Cotswolds, Woodchester Valley has grown from a one-acre planting in 2007 to the 58 acres of vineyards they have today. History reports that Gloucestershire was well known for its wines in the 12th century. William of Malmesbury is recorded as having written that ‘the country is planted thicker with vineyards than any other part of England’. Whether he was a prophecy for the future nobody knows, but in 2022 the Woodchester Sauvignon Blanc was awarded the highest score and the highest award in the Global Sauvignon Blanc Masters. For a small, family-run vineyard in the Cotswolds, this is an impressive achievement. Woodchester Valley produces white, red, rose and sparkling wines and guided tours and tastings are available throughout the year. Pre-booking is a must. If you need somewhere to stay look at Leonard Stanley House, Bellhouse or Lake Cottage.

               

Three Choirs Vineyard

This is one of the oldest vineyards in the country and it meanders over 75 acres of lush Gloucestershire countryside. In the heart of this green and pleasant land, this vineyard is a smidgen of Tuscany, a slither of Bordeaux but proudly English at its heart. Head wine-whisperer Martin Fowke has been creating wine alchemy for 30 years. He oversees the production of their red, white, rose, and sparkling wines. If you want to visit, then a self-guided wine flight is available on Saturday and Sunday. You can then follow the vineyard trail before enjoying lunch. Alternatively, treat yourself to dinner in the Brasserie, which is open every evening.

Poulton Hill Estate Vineyard

Soaking up the sunshine on the south-facing slopes of Poulton Hill Estate are 9,750 vines, to be exact. This delightful family-run vineyard produces limited batches of red, white, rose, and sparkling wines, along with a range of spirits. The grapes are harvested in the traditional way, by hand and tours are available from June to September. You’ll get to talk to the winemakers, learn more about the history of the vineyard, and taste some excellent wine. Poulton Hill Estate may be small, but it’s perfectly formed. They have a cellar door and a scroll through their awards speaks for itself. Butts Farm, Bank House and Laurel Cottage are some of our closest holiday homes to the vineyard.

Welcome Hills Vineyard

We don’t suppose there are many vineyards that can claim to reside on land formerly farmed by the Shakespeare family. Welcome Hills Vineyard can. Perched atop the Welcome Hills with views overlooking Stratford-upon-Avon, and down to the River Avon, this family-run vineyard plants pinot noir, Bacchus, and chardonnay vines over 4.5 acres. Vineyard tours and tastings are available from May to September. Or why not head over for a wine and cheese evening, or a painting and pinot class! Those looking to extend their time in Shakespeare country should take a peek at Kington Grange, 33 Percy Street, Trinity Cottage or beautiful Woodfields.

Freedom of the Press

In their own words, this is a micro-winery with grand ideas. Producing small batches of wine from their urban winery in the Cotswold hills, this is a winery without vines. Working with a select group of grapey-growers in East Anglia enables them to focus on producing the best wine they can with the best grapes. Fermenting and ageing take place in a range of vessels including French oak barrels, a large concrete egg and earthenware jars. A benefit of being a small producer means the fruit is handled lightly and often by gravity. Pre-book one of the summer tastings and tours if you would like to find out more about this vineless vineyard. Stay within easy striking distance at Lovell Cottage, The Old Barn or The Gallery and Oak Tree Cottage at King John’s Barn

Little Oak Vineyard

Little Oak Vineyard is a delightful vineyard in the northern Cotswolds. Set on the edge of the ancient market town of Chipping Camden, they simply want to produce the best-tasting wine they can. And they do. Whilst they curate excellent white wines, it’s their sparkling that is gaining recognition in particular. In 2021 the Little Oak Sparkling won a gold award in the Top 50 Sparkling Wines of the World. If you’d like to try some for yourself then tours and tastings run from Wednesday to Sunday and pre-booking is essential. Treat yourself to a stay at the gorgeous Singer House or one of our lovely cottages in nearby Blockley.

Quoins Vineyard

Forget big-name producers with state-of-the-art technology. If you want to see a hands-on, traditional small vineyard in action then Quoins vineyard, near Bath is the place to go. This organic vineyard was started back in 2002 and its wines now regularly win awards at the UK Vineyard Association and Decanter Tastings. Quoins grow three varieties of grapes to produce four single variety red, white and rose wines. Tours and tastings are available and include sole use of the vineyard, so it’s a very personal experience with those who know it best. We have a couple of delightful properties nearby including the Stables in Batheaston and Middle Barn and the Bull Pen in Dyrham.

Deer Park Wines

The slopes of Bredon Hill, on the Worcestershire/Gloucestershire border of the Cotswolds, seem an unlikely place for a vineyard. This is however where you will find Deer Park Wines. Focusing on the chardonnay and pinot noir grapes has produced an array of award-winning white, rose and sparkling wines. Do not miss a grape-to-glass tour and tasting in this very beautiful setting. Orchard Cottage is just a few miles away, whilst Outback Shepherds Hut and Swallows Rest are also within easy reach.

At Your Cottage

Here at Bolthole Retreats, we work with some of the best local suppliers in the Cotswolds, so why not organise your own private wine tasting in the comfort of your holiday home? Dominic from Corks of Evesham is an experienced wine educator and he hosts friendly, relaxed and informative wine tastings. Let Dominic surprise you, or tailor the tastings to your own preferences. Food and wine-paring experiences can also be arranged. Vinotopia is a fabulous wine merchant in the heart of the Cotswolds and can arrange private wine tastings in your cottage.

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