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The December Hot List

Our pick of the top wine-related things to see and do during the month of December

Drink this: Susie & Peter Big English Wine Adventure

Married masters of wine and hosts of the Wine Blast podcast, Susie and Peter Richards, have released a trio of wines (main picture) to raise money for the Marine Conservation Society, which is restoring our seas and helping fight climate change. The limited-edition collection includes two sparkling wines – a Blanc de Blanc 2016 Brut and Pinot Meunier-dominant blend – made at Hattingley Valley in Hampshire and a still Pinot Noir made at Danebury Ridge in Essex. They’re available as a three pack from The Wine Society for £120 or you can buy the sparkling wines as a duo direct from Hattingley Valley, for £75.

Eat here: Chalk Restaurant at Wiston Wine Estate

Wiston Estate in Washington, West Sussex, opens its highly anticipated Chalk Restaurant this month. The new Chalk Restaurant, which opens on December 7, sits within a renovated 18th century threshing barn and will be serving breakfasts and lunches from 8am until 5pm. Featuring furniture handmade on the estate, and crockery also sourced and made locally, the 60-cover restaurant also has a private dining room outside courtyard. There will also be a new tasting room and wine shop, with tours and tastings starting in January 2022.

Visit here: Leonardslee Illuminated

Last year’s Leonardslee Illuminated. Credit: Ray Gibson

One to get the entire family in the Christmas spirit, the lakes and gardens at Leonardslee near Horsham, West Sussex, have been lit up with stunning illuminations for an after-dark winter light trail. Along the trail there are thousands of lights, artist performances and illuminated designs created by Artpod, Foz Creative, Murmuration Arts, Same Sky and Shared Space & Light. At the entrance to the gardens there is a funfair, food stalls and a Christmas market, as well as a marquee selling a wide range of wines from Leonardslee’s sister estate, Benguela Cove Lagoon Wine Estate in South Africa. The event runs each Thursday to Sunday from 4.:15pm with tickets costing £18 for adults and £10 for under 16s.

Read this: Olly Smith Home Cocktail Bible

Prep for the party season with wine writer and broadcaster Olly Smith’s new Home Cocktail Bible. Packed with over 200 recipes, including a section on cocktails made with sparkling and fortified wines, the book has all the classic favourites, as well as some delectable new concoctions to make your Christmas guests feel truly special. Listen to Olly talk about the book and his wine adventures in this episode of The English Wine Diaries.

Home Cocktail Bible, RRP £20