Vine + Country Tours has been awarded a New Tourism Business gold award by Visit England
Whether you’re keen to top up your knowledge of viticulture or want to completely immerse yourself in the English wine scene, a tour is a great way to experience some of England’s best vineyards.
But how should you go about choosing a vineyard tour? Visit England recently announced its 2020 awards for excellence, selecting the best tourism businesses across the country and South East-based Vine + Country was given the top accolade.
Food & travel inspiration
Set up by Sussex-born and bred Jamie Thompson and Steph Jones, Vine + Country began as an idea Jamie had six years ago while he was working on underground mining projects across the other side of the world in Australia.
“I began exploring the wineries of Swan Valley and Margaret River as they were practically on the doorstep and I got a taste for wine tourism,” he says. “My tour hosts were always full of exuberance and knowledge. They opened the doors to the wine world and culture, quite literally.”
On return trips home to England to visit family, Jamie began to notice all the vineyards on the doorstep in Kent and Sussex and, after meeting Steph who had previously travelled the world helping launch new restaurants in New York, Sydney and London, decided to set up their own company hosting food and wine tours of the local area.
“When we travel, we travel for food and wine, we search out those people who have interesting stories, doing it differently or who few have heard of,” says Steph. “Kent and Sussex are rich in food and wine culture and we want to bring home the way we love to travel and experience a place and share it with others.”
English vineyard tours
The philosophy behind Vine + Country isn’t just to tour guests but to host them and Jamie and Steph work hard to curate a unique experience for their guests through their completely bespoke tours.
Behind each tour is a real passion to provide an insight into England’s wine-making scene and the people behind it.
“Here in the UK we have a real hot bed of innovation and as yet there is no ceiling to our potential as a globally-recognised wine region,” says Jamie. “Winemakers are free to play and experiment with all sorts of styles, techniques and grape varieties. The perfect tour for us would be one that shows someone doing it in the modern way, someone doing it in their boutique way and someone else doing something completely whacky!”
Vine + Country Tours start from £150 per person and include transport, all tasting, lunch with wine pairings, visits and tours of at least three vineyards/producers and afternoon aperitif drinks and platters.