Gusbourne Wine Harvest Tour Fine English Wines From Kent
One of the best English sparkling wine producers, Gusbourne also does some fine rose and white wines. Located in the leafy Kent village of Appledore, this renowned English winery is well worth a visit.
Gusbourne Wine Harvest Tour
The vision of founder Andrew Weeber is to make the finest wines in the world. For that reason, Gusbourne have planted mainly Burgundian clones in their vineyards.
Although these cloned varieties produce lower yields, their fruit is more flavourful and riper. These grapes lend themselves particularly well to fine sparkling wine and white wine.
Coupled with the mild climate in Kent and the Estate’s clay soil, this means that the wines develop flavour in the ground. Manipulation in the cellar is therefore not required.
Dating back to 1410, the original Gusbourne estate was the property of John de Goosebourne. At the time, the family crest was composed of three geese.
Today, a goose emblem adorns each Gusbourne wine bottle and glass. In fact, they call it the Goosemark, a symbol of quality.
All the grapes used in Gusbourne wines are grown on their own estates. There are 60 hectares on the Gusbourne Estate in Kent and 30 hectares in West Sussex.
This year, the harvest in Gusbourne coincides with English Wine Week which has been rescheduled from May to September. It’s a great time of year to visit the vineyard. You can taste fully ripened grapes on the vine and juice right from the press.
For Gusbourne still wines, the best Chardonnay and Pinot grapes are selected by green harvesting. This means that up to a third of each grape bunch is removed, in order to increase the intensity of the remaining grapes.
All the grapes are hand-picked and then sorted. Only the best quality grapes are selected.
Gusbourne Vineyard Tours
There are a variety of vineyard tours on offer, during which you will be able to try a selection of Gusbourne wines. During our Discovery Tour, we tasted grapes on the vine which were significantly sweeter at the top of the slope. Tasting the grapes again at the bottom of the slope, they have more acidity which gives the wines longevity on the palate.
On our tour, we spotted a frost prevention machine. Still fairly rare in English vineyards, they significantly reduce loss to frost.
- 2 hour Vineyard Tour – includes a guided walk in the vines, winery tour and tutored tasting in the tasting room.
- Discovery Tour – after a hosted tour of the vineyards and winery, enjoy a tutored tasting in the Nest, together with seasonal sharing platters. On our visit, we enjoyed a delicious selection of local cheeses and meat by Vine + Country wine and food tours.
- Estate Tour – includes welcome drinks, an extended vineyard and estate tour, a three course lunch in the tasting room and limited edition wine tasting.
- Self-Guided Tour – collect a map and take a self-guided tour of the vineyard, followed by a glass of wine at The Nest. You don’t need to prebook self-guided tours. However, as for all the other tours you will need to check in using the NHS Track and Trace app.
- Tailor-Made Tours – Gusbourne also host private events and tours.
The Estate’s cellar door, tour and wine tasting operation is open daily from Monday to Sunday, including Bank Holidays from 10:00 – 17:00. At the moment, lunches are taking place outdoors and the museum section is temporarily closed.
Tel: +44 (0)1233 884680
Winemaker Charlie Holland has created some of the most iconic sparkling wines in the world. Gusbourne wines have won many international awards, including Best English Sparkling Wine at the International Wine Challenge in Shanghai.
They are the only three time winner of the IWSC English Wine Producer of the Year. The grape varieties at Gusbourne are Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier.
Once bottled, the wine is hand stacked and allowed to age for a minimum of 28 months.
Blanc de Blancs 2014
The Estate’s flagship wine, Gusbourne Blanc de Blancs, is made from hand selected Chardonnay grapes. It is aged for a minimum of forty two months on lees and six months on cork and presented in a stylish gift box. This was our favourite of the wines that we tasted.
A delicate blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir, this wine has aromas of wild strawberry, cranberry and cherries.
Brut Reserve 2016
Gusbourne’s best selling wine is a subtle combination of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. With aromas of green apples, lemon, poached pears and nuts, it has an elegant finish.
Blanc de Noirs 2016
Made from the finest Pinot Noir grapes, this wine is aged for a minimum of twenty seven months on lees and six months on cork. It has notes of candied fruits, apple, cherry and raspberries.
If all this has made you thirsty, you’re probably wondering how to get your hands on some Gusbourne wine. It’s served in some of the best restaurants in the UK and abroad, as well as on board Cunard cruise ships and the Belmond British Pullman train.
You can also stock up at wine merchants such as Berry Bros. & Rudd or Hedonism and luxury department stores like Fortnum & Mason.
At Gusbourne, quality takes precedence over quantity. Annual production varies as only the best grapes are used.
The award-winning wines are in high demand, so it can be tricky to secure them at times. However, there’s a way to ensure an allocation directly from the cellar: Gusbourne Reserved.
This wine membership club gives you access to a range of exclusive benefits including first opportunities to taste new wines. Members also receive two bottles each of Gusbourne Blanc de Blancs, Brut Reserve and Rosé. Delivery is complimentary to UK addresses.
Getting to Gusbourne
The estate is located a short cab ride away from Ashford International train station. From here there are trains every 15 minutes to St Pancras International train station in London.
Alternatively, you can change at Ashford for trains to Hastings and descend at Appledore. From here, take a pre-booked taxi to Gusbourne as there are none waiting at Appledore.
If you come by car, there’s ample free car parking space. The Gusbourne Estate is located at the junction of Kenardington Road and Snargate Road and is well sign-posted.
Have you ever tried English wine or toured a British winery?
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