English wine is making impressive strides, with vineyards across the UK producing exceptional still and sparkling varieties. Searcys’ Head of Champagne, Martin Dibben, shares his top picks for the best vineyards to visit, offering a firsthand experience of the finest English wine. There’s never been a better time to explore and taste the flourishing world of English viticulture:

1. Greyfriars, Surrey

The Lowdown: Originally established in 1989, Greyfriars was one of the first vineyards in England to plant the traditional Champagne varieties. Mike and Hillary Wagstaff took over in 2010 and have expanded the area under vine to 40 acres across two sites, focusing on producing stunning English sparkling wine from the three classic Champagne varieties: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier. Greyfriars are also the sole manufacturer of Searcys’ new English Sparkling Wine.

Where: The, Hog’s Back, Puttenham, Guildford GU3 1AG

2. Chapel Down, Kent

The Lowdown: Chapel Down is England’s leading and largest winemaker, with a mission to change the way the world thinks about English wine. Based in Kent, in the heart of the Garden of England, their talented winemaking team produces award-winning wines from grapes grown in some of the finest vineyards in the country.

Where: Chapel Down Vineyard, Small Hythe Rd, Tenterden TN30 7NG

3. Gusbourne, Kent

The Lowdown: A boutique winery in Kent, all of Gusbourne’s wines are vintage-only, made using fruit from a single growing season. Each wine tells the story of a year’s growing conditions, capturing a moment in time. They cellar age their wines for as long as they need, releasing them only when they are ready.

Where: Kenardington Rd, Appledore, Ashford TN26 2BE

4. Bolney, West Sussex

The Lowdown: In the heart of rural Sussex lies Bolney Wine Estate, one of England’s oldest and most beautiful vineyards. Their journey began over 50 years ago and has been marked by excellence, reflected in the numerous awards for still and sparkling wine, from their famous Pinot Noir to the Winemaker’s Edition exclusives. Whilst you can’t stay here, it’s well worth a visit for a tour, tasting or dining experience in the Eighteen Acre Restaurant.

Where: Foxhole Ln, Bolney, Haywards Heath RH17 5NB

5. Silverhand, Kent

The Lowdown:  Situated in the heart of the picturesque Kent countryside, Silverhand Estate is a hidden gem that offers a unique blend of natural beauty and rich heritage. It is defining the new rules of English sparkling wine, having established the largest single organic vineyard in the UK, covering an area of more than 500 acres. They are proud to be situated in an area of outstanding natural beauty and are passionate about protecting our environment and the land on which we reside.

The dedicated conservation team works tirelessly across the estate throughout the year to ensure the flora and fauna are able to thrive while working in harmony with our vineyards. Their organic farming methods are a sustainable and healthy approach to agriculture that prioritises the health of the soil, the environment, and those who enjoy our wine.

Where: Luddesdown Rd, Luddesdown, Gravesend DA13 0XE

The Lowdown: Balfour Winery is an award-winning family-owned winery set on the 400-acre Hush Heath Estate in Kent. As founders of the Wine GB sustainability scheme, they are leaders in moving the English wine industry forward with their innovative and experimental mindset, backed by 21 years of experience. Balfour has ten pubs throughout south England where you can stay, eat and try their delicious wines.

Where: Five Oak Ln, Staplehurst, Tonbridge TN12 0HT