Vineyard Blog

Looking back on English Wine Week 2013

A week or so after English Wine Week, the wine rack is groaning delightfully under the weight of new discoveries. Worth a quick think on how it went and anything I would do differently next time…

First the plus points…

Taking the week off work was great and I’ll definitely put the date in my diary for next year. Catching up with friends and family around the country and tying these in with vineyard visits worked really well, too. Most of us are busy rushing around, which is why I try to pinpoint when vineyards are close to where you might be anyway – Leventhorpe near M1 J46 and Cobbs just a few minutes from M4 J14 spring to mind.

We’ve also been wondering how many things there are in the world that you are interested in and can actually sit down with the person who made it and hear all the back stories? Certainly not cars, clothes or handbags. Not to mention taking treasure home too, to enjoy with friends on another day. Hush Heath stands out here, as well as Astley and Albury – in all cases, really interesting people happy to take the time and share their passion. We felt very privileged.

So what was less good?

Firstly, I’m wondering about the date. Around the time of new releases and when vineyards are not too busy makes absolute sense, but how well does half-term week suit an activity that isn’t particularly child-friendly? I’m lucky enough to be self-employed, so as long as the clients are happy and their work is up to date, I can usually be flexible. However, when I’ve been based in a bigger office, it always seems that the people with kids take half term off work and those without are left to hold the fort, just a thought…

Of the 4 vineyards I visited, only 1 made a big deal of English Wine Week, the others made no mention at all. It was actually quite hard to plan visits for early in the week as only the bigger vineyards seemed to be open on Mondays and Tuesdays. Also those that require a group of people and a minimum charge hadn’t relaxed those rules for English Wine Week, which I thought they might have had enough interest to justify.

On the subject of planning, the dedicated pages on the English Wine Producers website seemed to have very few events until a couple of days before English Wine Week 2013 actually started, so they weren’t a very good source. There’s more to English Wine than one week a year, but the English Wine Producers Events Page currently only lists 2 events until the end of the year!

Learnings for next time…

Overall English Wine Week 2013 was great fun and I’ll certainly be enjoying sharing the wines I bought from vineyards and spreading the word on English wines over the coming months.

This English Wine Lovers blog had only just launched for Wine Week 2013 but, all being well, we’ll have more readers next year and maybe we can get together bigger groups to allow more people access to some of the vineyards with a minimum number requirement.

We’re also thinking of recommending some “direct from the vineyard” tasting cases, so watch this space…



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