A Guide to Vineyard Tours & Tasting Tables


It's been wonderful to see our local pubs and restaurants start to welcome guests back to their outside spaces this week, and many of us are now planning social gatherings for this summer. Hospitality businesses in Stratford-upon-Avon and throughout the UK are being increasingly inventive and creative in how they can comply with rules and regulations whilst meeting the demand from their customers.


Once again, the hospitality industry is working to government deadlines and almost everyone I know has the key dates in mind (12 April, 17 May, 21 June) for various reasons whether to be able to open their business, go away or finally see and hug beloved family members.

Throughout the summer of 2020, we had our “Good to Go” accreditation and were able to continue to run vineyard tours which provided a welcome destination for friends and family to meet. All our events in 2020 took place outside, with each table assigned to a social bubble and plenty of space for guests to socially distance!


We're thrilled to be welcoming customers back to Welcombe Hills Vineyard this year and it really is an ideal spot for meeting up with friends and family - with spaced out tables, events held mainly outside and room to spread out! We're running two types of events this year, both of which are open to everyone, so read on to decide which event to book....


If it's your first time visiting Welcombe Hills Vineyard, then we recommend our Vineyard Tour and Wine Tasting events. This is a super introduction to English wine with a guided tour of the vines and a tutored tasting of 4 of our wines. But if you've visited us before, or just want to wander around the vines at leisure then book a Tasting Table. Sample an English wine flight, or just relax with a glass of your favourite Welcombe Hills Vineyard wine overlooking the beautiful Warwickshire countryside.


What happens on a Vineyard Tour?


Our 2021 vineyard tour programme kicks off on Sunday 23 May 2021, which coincides with the start of English Wine Week. According to the current roadmap for lifting lockdown (as of 2nd April 2021), we should have the go-ahead to hold outdoor AND indoor tastings. This will be great news to our guests! Last year, our visitors were so excited to be somewhere other than home that they gamely bore the brunt of the spring showers, huddling under umbrellas tasting wine quickly before it became diluted in the rain. There’s nothing quite so authentic as tasting English wine whilst experiencing the wonderful variety of English weather!


On each tour day, we usually run 2 sessions – the first at 11am and then another at 3pm. We’re situated on top of the Welcombe Hills along the infamous Monarch’s Way, so the vineyard is a great stop off on a longer country walk or cycle ride. Also, we’re 2 doors down from The Farm shop where you can book a table in their restaurant “Nourish” for lunch, otherwise we have Stratford-upon-Avon just 3 miles away with a wealth of activities and eateries to complete your day.


In fine weather (and throughout 2020), our tasting tables are on the grass next to the vines and we'll continue to hold as many of our events outside as we can. Once the whole group has arrived (usually around 20), we’ll kick off the event with a guided tour around the vineyard.


We arrived here in 2017, but the vines have a much longer history than that! It was Chris and Jane Gallimore who first planted Welcombe Hills Vineyard in 2001, and we are privileged to continue what they started. For such a small vineyard, we are lucky enough to have nine different grape varieties and you’ll discover which grapes go into which wine. Although our wine is not yet made on site (this is still work in progress!) we'll discuss the wine making process, and explain how we influence the finished product. Guests can ask questions at any point of the tour, and we welcome audience participation!


After guests have walked the vines, they are invited to take their seats ready for the next stage of the event – the wine tasting! We love wine tastings as it gives us the perfect opportunity to get live customer feedback on our wines. We try at least 4 of our English wines, starting with a sparkling and then usually following with a red, white and rosé.


I’d say most of our guests are proficient at drinking wine, and more importantly certainly know what they like (or don’t like). However, for some of them it is the first time have officially “tasted” wine. So, we lead them through the 5-step process – look, smell, sip, taste and discuss. The discussing part is our favourite bit! What flavours can you taste? What aromas can you detect? And, most importantly – do you like it? It’s fine to not like it too….although it's hard not to when sat outside in the glorious sunshine, next to the vines which produced the grapes to make said wine! Wine tasting is incredibly individual and each one of us has our own preferences and can detect different elements in a wine.


How is a Tasting Table different?


New for 2021, our Tasting Tables offer guests an alternative to vineyard tours. Anyone can book a table on selected dates and just come and taste our award-winning English wine, taking in the Warwickshire countryside. With 2 sparkling wines, 4 still wines and 2 gins there's plenty to choose from! There are no official tours on these events, but guests are welcome to wander around the vines themselves.


Book a table for up to 6 people at 12pm, 2pm or 4pm and your £10 table deposit is fully refundable against your table orders. Order by the glass, the bottle or the wine flight. Maybe you fancy a cold glass of The Tempest (English Bacchus) in the afternoon sun? Or do you fancy sharing a bottle of our new Ophelia 2019 Sparkling Rosé? If you can't decide, try a wine flight selection of 3 tasting glasses (1 sparkling and 2 still wines) to determine your favourite!


What about food?


We're thrilled to be working with our neighbours at The Farm, and introducing a food option to our events. Pre-order your Graze box with us up to 48 hours prior to your booking and we'll collect them ready for when you arrive.


Order a Graze box for 1, 2 or 4 people to share, and as a guide each Graze box includes items such as pork pie, sausage roll, antipasti deli items, Neal's Yard cheeses, bread and salad.


You can book your Graze Box when you make your Vineyard Tour or Tasting Table booking. If you've already booked your tickets or table, then you can add on Graze Boxes to your order.


Whether you're booked in for a Vineyard Tour or a Tasting Table, when visiting the vineyard it's easy to drive past our “hidden” entrance without knowing we were there. However, on event days we plant our “Welcombe Hills Vineyard” flags at the entrance so you can’t miss us. When you drive in, you’ll see the Barn ahead of you so head around to the back where there is plenty of space to park.


All our events are casual, social affairs, and we love the opportunity of meeting our customers in person. Our wine is available to purchase direct from us on tour dates and tasting dates, as well as anytime online. We offer free delivery within 20 miles of CV37 and are able to ship wine throughout the UK.


We’ve just completed the final tasting of the wine from the 2020 harvest and have sent it to be bottled. It will arrive back with us in time for the start of our tours in May. In the meantime, we’re busy refurbishing our tasting room and are looking forward to welcoming guests back here this year to taste our latest range of award-winning English wine.


2020 The Tempest, English Bacchus

2020 Twelfth Night, English Sauvignon Blanc & Bacchus (due Sept 2021)

2020 A Rose by Any Other Name, English Rosé wine

2019 Othello, English Pinot Noir & Pinot Noir Précoce

2020 Othello, English Pinot Noir & Pinot Noir Précoce

2019 Ophelia Rosé, English Sparkling Rosé wine (traditional method)

2014 Ophelia, Blanc de Noir (traditional method)


PLUS


GRIN Gin, English Grape-Infused Gin (Bacchus)

PINK GRIN Gin, English Grape-Infused Gin (Pinot Noir & Dornfelder)



#englishvineyardtours #englishwinetasting #visitbritishvineyards

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