We’re on a mission to introduce wine lovers to new experiences and while the Channel and Scilly Islands might not sound like your typical wine tasting holiday destination, their high-quality vineyards have been attracting praise for the past 30 years. For your next relaxing break, explore a lesser-known viticulture tradition just off the southern coast of England.
Jersey’s First Commercial Vineyard
If you want to experience Jersey’s original vineyard business, you’ll find no better example than La Mare Wine Estate on the shores of the Channel Islands. The 21-acre plot is home to a variety of grapes, including Huxelrebe, Seyval Blanc, Phoenix, Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc, Reichensteiner, Triomphe, Schonburger and Regent. The estate recently received much acclaim at the International Wines and Spirits Competition, winning 3 awards for its sparkling wines. If you’d like to try it for yourself, take a tasting tour around their vineyard, distillery, gardens and cooperage.
Where to Stay
In Jersey, there’s no better hotel than the Grand Jersey Hotel & Spa. It is its 3AA Rosette restaurant which is its biggest selling point where you can enjoy a sommelier’s choice of 5 paired wines alongside exclusive seasonal dishes.
Boasting gorgeous views of the St Aubins bay, it is located on the promenade of St Helier. The rooms are luxurious and spacious, with excellent facilities.
Scilly’s St Martin’s Vineyard
Founded in 1996, the St Martin’s Vineyard is a family-run business. Madeline Angevine and Reichensteiner were the first grapes to be grown here, but the enterprise has since expanded its repertoire to include Siegerrebe, Orion and Seyval Blanc. The wine is made and bottled in the stone barn at the back of the winery, and if you head over to the small farm shop, you’ll be invited to take part in a conducted tour and sample a few of the local favourites.
Where to Stay
There is no place more picturesque than Star Castle Hotel. This Elizabethan Castle boasts two award-winning restaurants which serve delicious wines from their own vineyard, carefully preserved in the wine-clad conservatory. It’s every wine lover’s paradise.
One of the Largest Producers of English Wine
Rosemary Vineyard is a 30-acre plot that extends across the island of Sark. Producing a wide range of country and sparkling wines, as well as full-bodied reds, this peaceful brewery has something for everyone. Saturday through Tuesday, you can take a free guided tour to discover the intricate winemaking process. Or, if you’d rather savour the fruity wines, you can enjoy a peaceful lunch alongside a free wine tasting.
“The Rosemary vineyard’s gentle slopes protect the newly budded vines to ensure the grapes ripen for a rich and light taste.”
Where to Stay
Set in a tranquil countryside, Stocks Sark Island Hotel and Restaurant is a traditional residence that boasts a relaxing jacuzzi and health centre. The fine-dining restaurant offers a range of delicious local recipes which are complemented by their homemade country wines.