Category Archives: Home Counties

The wine feastival that is Wilderness Festival

I just got back from the feastival that is Wilderness Festival. In its seventh year held at Oxfordshire’s Cornbury Park, not only is it a family friendly festival, it is an absolute food and drinks haven.
This was four days of serious food and drink indulgence. Not a greasy burger or pint of Brother’s perry in sight.

From Jose Cuevo margaritas to Orchard Pig cider. There was a Peacock tail cocktail truck, a Sipsmith gin bar, Pimm’s double decker bus complete with croquet lawn and a Veuve Clicquot tent (yes, really). The Ketel One Kitchen served vodka fans, and the twinkly Meantime bar and Heineken Hall kept those seeking a decent pint happy. Not that I tried them all, I hasten to add!

Then there was wine.

Picture this: Saturday evening. Wood smoke and folk in the air. Tired legs from dancing and piggy backs. Then taking a pew to share a bottle of Crianza at the Wines from Rioja terrace. Festi-bliss!
But that’s not all. There was more wine… and the food… the food…

If you weren’t organised enough to book Thomasina Mears or Yotam Ottolenghi or Angela Hartnett, or just not the kind to plan ahead, no fear.

For instance, if you’d missed a table at The Pig or Petersham Nurseries, takeaway was available.

Our preference was to head to The Dining Room where we gorged on gourmet Breddos tacos, top notch samphire pakoras from Kricket or soft, steamed Taiwanese Baos, washed down by a glass or two of Provençal rosé from The Cellar wine bar.

The wine may stop there, but the food was never ending. Gourmet street food lined the site at each and every turn. Favourites included Anna Mae’s mac ‘n’ cheese, more tacos, Chip Off The Block cheesy chips, Bubble Dogs (sans bubbles), burritos, gyoza and so much more. The Wholefood Heaven Buddha bowl went down a storm with my healthy CrossFit loving chum.

Some may say it’s all a bit corporate, but I felt the balance was about right and I certainly left feeling contentedly full, having done my bit for caterers big and small.
With early bird tickets for Wilderness 2018 being released today, I’m still recovering from this weekend so won’t be booking quite yet. But if you enjoyed Tom Kerridge’s Pub in the Park but just wish it had lasted longer, I’d totally recommend Wilderness Festival – just swap the wax jacket for sequins.

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Best Yet Perfect Friday Wine Autumn Wine Tasting

Nearly a month later and I’m only just getting round to reporting that this year’s Perfect Friday Wine Autumn Wine Tasting in Maidenhead was the most successful yet.

Huge thanks to all 80+ guests who came along, what a great afternoon!

I of course took about 3 photographs; always in my mind, a good indicator of a good do. Here’s the best one….

Wine Tasting Maidenhead

The third of its kind, this intimate yet informal annual wine tasting was held in Perfect Friday Wine’s home town of Maidenhead at the most suitable venue of the Council Chamber in the Town Hall.

Anyone familiar with the town will know that events like this don’t tend to happen – not that I know of anyway, or I’d be there!

With over 40 wines to taste, talk and mingle over during the course of an afternoon, five Perfect Friday Wine suppliers poured and talked through the wines, including wines from some of the UK’s top London-based wine importers.

maidenhead wine

 

Around half of the wines were new to the Perfect Friday Wine list, all available to order. Particularly well received was a new sparkling Calmel and Joseph Cremant de Limoux, South African wines from Black Elephant Vintners and a whole host of Argentinian reds.

I’m delighted to have given local folk a great excuse to leave the kids at home and enjoy an afternoon of great wine on their doorsteps and judging by the feedback, good fun was had by all.

If you do have photos of the day and haven’t yet shared, I’d love to see them on Facebook or Instagram.

Until next year!!

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Filed under Home Counties, Maidenhead, Wine and Food Pairing, Wine Tasting

Wine List Released for the Autumn Wine Tasting in Maidenhead 2016

With much anticipation, the biggest and best ever Wine Tasting Event in Maidenhead, certainly to my knowledge, is happening this coming Saturday afternoon.

Yes, from 1.30pm until 5pm on Saturday 8th October 2016, The Council Chamber in Maidenhead’s Town Hall will be transformed into a tasting room filled with around 80 wine loving folk from the locality, enjoying over 40 wines from 7 countries around the world.  Guests are welcome to arrive at any time during the afternoon since the format is very relaxed and of walk around format. Last pour will be at 5pm.

The Wine Tasting Brochure and Wine List  has now been confirmed and is now available to download for preview. You will receive a nice printed copy on arrival.

Maidenhead Wine Tasting

The last few remaining tickets are available to buy in advance. Further details and FAQs can be viewed here or drop me a line.

Correction: Entry to the event is via the MAIN door at the front of the Town Hall on St Ives Road.

Download the Wine List Brochure for the Perfect Friday Wine Autumn Wine Tasting 2016 now.

 

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Wine in Little Marlow at Emmett’s Farm, Buckinghamshire

Wine at Emmett's FarmEmmett’s Farm, where’s that? It’s a common question I’m asked when I mention my pop-up pitch outside a local Farm Shop. When I point out its location, between Marlow and Bourne End, not far from the A404, in rural Buckinghamshire’s Little Marlow, folk’s recognition is almost immediate.

But, there’s not just a Farm Shop, it’s a proper little destination. Many are familiar with Home Barn, a haven for all things vintage, reclaimed or antique. Then, better known by the ‘shooting set’, is the very manly Emmett and Stone Country Sports Store, or ‘the gun shop’ as I know it, which sits over in the corner, attracting folk driving the most eye catching cars from the filthiest Land Rover to the shiniest sports cars.

Putting Annie Sloan and tweed aside, we get to the foodie interest at Emmett’s Farm. First up, there’s the aforementioned Farm Shop selling local and seasonal vegetables grown right there on the farm. Think pumpkins, squashes and gourds in Autumn (great for cooking as well as Hallowe’en), sweetcorn in August, asparagus in May [calendar]. Then there’s all the other bits and bobs from small local producers; think baked goods, fresh bread and cakes, local honey, preserves, biscuits, cereals,  meat, cheese and pies.

Then, right next door sits Marlow’s longstanding Phil Bowditch Butchers and Fish Mongers. These guys not only serve up amazing quality meat, fish and seafood with a smile, they have their own smoker out the back, so this is the place to go for the best smoked salmon, bacon and sausages that I know of ’round these parts’.

Maidenhead Wine PopUp

All that seems to be missing, is wine! And that’s where I have been filling the gap now and again since May 2014, with the Perfect Friday Wine Pop-up Wine Stall and Wine Tasting. Amazingly, it has actually been sunny and warm for my last few pop-ups, the latest on 16th July, when I introduced the new-in, organic, robust, Spanish red, Quinta Milu Roble from Ribera del Duero. [Read more about Milu and Ribera del Duero].

Between Bowditch, the Farm Shop and I, we really do have all you’d need for a sunny BBQ/ cosy winter weekend at home, not only serving great quality provision with good old fashioned personal service, but leaving you with that feel good factor of shopping local and supporting small businesses. If you are remotely interested in good food and caring about where your food comes from, this really is a great place to find exceptional local and quality produce (an wine) in one place.

I’ll be back at Emmett’s Farm with wine on Saturday 24th September (plus the run up to Christmas 2016, TBA), where I’m looking forward to seeing lots of familiar faces and getting to meet many more local wine drinkers. I always have wines open to taste, there’s no minimum order, I take credit/ debit cards and I’ll even carry your wine to your car boot. If I don’t have the right wine there on the stall, I’ll deliver it later in the week or let me know ahead of time and I’ll have your wine there ready and waiting. I have everything covered, except guarantee of the weather!

So bring the dog, don those Dubarry’s and I’ll see you at Emmett’s on September 24th! If it helps, please do sign up to my newsletter and I’ll remind you nearer the time.

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Filed under Eating/ Drinking In, Home Counties, Local produce, Maidenhead, Wine and Food Pairing

Best (non-alcoholic) beverage in Berkshire….

12718138_10153823935430399_8863558578712723717_nI remember sitting in the Two Brewers in Windsor once when I was pregnant with an equally pregnant friend, where we sat and nursed two lime and sodas for an entire evening. Don’t pity the landlord too much for our table hogging, as I’ve spent many a hard-earned £ over the years, pre and post-natal, in my favourite ‘no child zone’, on pints of Guinness, bottles of Champagne ‘because it’s better value than a bottle of white’ and dining (their Petit Chablis and Carignan are both worth a tipple btw). Plus, it was nothing more than enforced abstinence and I shared the soft drink consumption around the county, fair and square.

In fact, I found liquid intake during pregnancy terribly boring since I often joke that unless a drink contains alcohol or caffeine, then it’s not for me – obviously a little limited when ‘with child’. Water is the exception, or course, but it doesn’t go down well at a cafe or bar when you rock up and ask for a glass of tap water to sip whilst taking up space for hours. This concept also transfers to brandishing a laptop and working for an hour on the wifi, after all, there’s no such thing as free wifi.

If you follow my Instagram account, you may notice that my second liquid pleasure in life, after the grape or grain and before wine o’clock, is coffee. Not just any old coffee, but proper coffee. Since too much coffee incidentally sends me a bit loopy, I’m a strict one-cup-a-day kinda girl, so every cup has to be the real deal, or there’s no point. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no expert (I’d like to know more), but it’s not hard to taste the difference between Instant (a big fat decline), the stuff they serve in Costa or Starbucks (I will accept if need be) or proper, tasty coffee (yes please).

#flatwhite #hotchocolate #latteart #coffee @cooperscoffeebar #marlow #saturdaymorning #propercoffeebar

A post shared by Jo Randell (@perfectfridaywine) on

It has therefore become a decadent habit of mine, as a worker from home, that when I need a change of scenery or when I’m out and about on deliveries or need a spot of inspiration, I’ll seek out the delights of a local cafe with wifi and a decent roast (coffee bean, not Sunday), to work from.

My favourite spot local to Maidenhead for coffee? I’m open to suggestion, but Coopers Trading in Marlow HAS to win top award for coffee, atmosphere and best dog (great wine list too). Stubbings does a decent flat white and the cakes are very tempting, very popular with MIYP (Mums-in-yoga-pants) and today I thoroughly enjoyed a new-one-on-me-for-coffee, nostalgic, straight black coffee in the sunshine outside The Firestation in Windsor. So if you enjoy a spot of latte art as well as a decent glass of wine, pop over to my Instagram account and follow and let me know where else I should try for the best cup of coffee in Berkshire (or Bucks)!

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Dropmore Vineyard; Tribute to John Petersen

Dropmore VineyardIMG_6065IMG_6303As an advocator of English Wine and local produce, it has been my pleasure to have been working alongside perhaps my most local vineyard, Dropmore Vineyard. It was therefore, with real sadness that I learnt of the recent loss of Mr Dropmore himself, John Petersen (30 June 1936 – 29 March 2016).

John’s passion for his 3 acres of vineyard in Littleworth Common (nr. Burnham), was unsurpassed – never before have I seen such lovingly cultivated vines. John planted his 2500 vines in 2008 with a mixture of Chardonnay, Bacchus, Pinot Noir, Ortega and Pinot Meunier, with John’s first harvest following in 2010 with a crop of Bacchus.

I’ve been lucky enough to work with John since his crisp and fruity Bacchus 2013 vintage was released and it is at least good news to hear that the vineyard will continue to be worked and Dropmore Wines will live on in his memory. I’m just sad that John never got to taste his first sparkling wine, which has just been released and is a jolly good drop!

As a salute to John, I will have his award winning Dropmore Vineyard Pinot Blush 2013 open to taste on Sunday 8th May at Maidenhead’s Eat on the High Street. John received the Best Still Rosé Wine Award in the T&CVA 2015 Annual Wine Challenge back in September 2015, a great achievement.  His Bacchus also won a Bronze Award, so well done him!

Chin Chin John!

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Filed under English Wine, Home Counties, Local produce, Maidenhead, Uncategorized

April 2016 Pop-Up Wine Stall Berkshire

If you’ve ever been to one of my pop-up wine stalls, you will be familiar with just how blue a person’s lips can turn. For some reason, the weather is generally against me and I stand bearing the freezing cold, gales (no snow so far) and rain, purely for the love of wine.

If you’ve never been to one of my pop-up wine stalls and you live local to Maidenhead, love wine or just fancy coming to poke fun at the nutter in the earmuffs selling wine outdoors, please do come and find me. The usual format is me talking a lot about wine, a boot load of wine boxes and several wines open to taste, all under the protective cover of my pop-up stall (or as one kindly customer sneered “Pop-up? It’s a tent!”).

My last outing was at Fernygrove Farm in Hawthorn Hill, between Maidenhead and Bracknell back on a particularly freezing cold April Saturday (yes, Perfect Friday Wine can be drunk on a Saturday, or any day of the week). This was a new wine pop-up location for Perfect Friday Wine with a cafe, florist, farm shop and butcher to boot and I saw many of my lovely, loyal customers up there as well as meeting new ones!  I had a whole raft of wine open to taste and buy and had a great day – where there is other brilliant food, there is the desire for fabulous wine. Here’s a reminder of those on taste, all handpicked with springtime in mind.

Casa Silva Pinot NoirCasa Silva Pinot Noir Reserva
: One of the best value Pinot Noirs I’ve come across, the Casa Silva Reserva from Chile is a delight of cherry fruits, delicious and a lighter for the spring. I hadn’t tasted this vintage (2014)  since February myself and I was reminded as to just how fantastic a Pinot this is. I enjoyed the leftovers very much once I’d warmed up on the following Tuesday, when it was still drinking superbly.

 

Villa Blanche Grenache

Villa Blanche Grenache Rosè: Springtime sunshine marks rosè time! The delicate and delicious Villa Blanche Grenache is Languedoc in origin, Provençal in style, dry, pretty, peachy and great value. From the genius of Calmel and Joseph, this is just as good as their Villa Blanche Picpoul de Pinet and Syrah and went down a storm (likely because it was kept so blimin’ chilled) – definitely the  WINE OF THE DAY.

 

 

Bluebell Vineyard Blanc de Blancs

Bluebell Vineyard Estates Blanc de Blancs 2011: It’s Bluebell season, so this award winning Sussex fizz seemed fitting to open. Interestingly, this has been in the press twice since, firstly on Olly Smith’s recommendation on The Daily Mail Online and then ‘Food Matcher’ Fiona Beckett stating what ‘good value’ it is on theguardian.com. As I continue my championing of English Wine, it’s good to see it, the sparkling in particular, getting a louder ‘voice’.  This is a class or 5 above the cheap Prosecco that’s enjoyed so heartily in the UK – it’s Champagne method, Champagne grapes and excitingly, from our own fair shores – just don’t call it Champagne (Wine fact: did you know that Taittinger have bought land in Kent to begin planting vines? Even the French are on it).

 

calmeljosephlaruffe

Calmel and Joseph ‘Les Cuvèes Rare’ La Ruffe 2013: New to PFW this spring and lush, this saw its first outing back in March where I chilled myself  (and the wine) to the bone at my Emmett’s Farm Pop-Up in Little Marlow.  I must find a way to keep my reds warm enough so that by 2pm they’re not fridge cold. In the words of wine critic Tamlyn Currin, who rated La Ruffe a very high 17+ out of 20: “50% Carignan, 40% Syrah, 10% Cinsault. They didn’t want to pump the wine, so they had to carry it down with a pick-up truck. No filtration. Dark chocolate, peppermint, green herbs. Lots of black chocolate, lots of power, massive structure. Thick velvet-and-portcullis tannins with opulent fruit firmly behind bars at the moment, but it’s definitely there. Tightly bound. Very imposing. A sleeping dragon. Needs five to 10 years. Drink 2019-2026” Although I think it’s rather nice right now (agreed that it will only get better)! Full article on jancisrobinson.com.

So, there we have it.  April’s Wine Pop-Up summarised. Where can you find me next? After a while away, I’ll be bringing wine back to Maidenhead High Street on Sunday 8th May, joining the new street food market Eat on the High Street alongside a whole gang of other local food producers. Keep posted on my events page or better still, sign up sign up to the Perfect Friday Wine Newsletter to keep up to date with my whereabouts over summer 2016 and beyond.

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Filed under Eating/ Drinking In, English Wine, France, Home Counties, Languedoc-Roussillon, Maidenhead, South America, Uncategorized

Maidenhead Business Girls Christmas Tasters

DSC06469As a fellow Business Girl, if you’ve been wondering what my wines are like for a while and fancy trying something new, why not take advantage of this special MBG offer this Christmas. I have chosen each and every one of the wines on the wine list, many from small producers or lesser known grape varieties or regions, and only the best tasting, best value make the final cut.

Order one of the following delicious Business Girls Mini-Cases and you’ll be saving more than 5% off the bottle price. A fabulous way to sample some of my fabulous wines and reward yourself for a hard year of self-employment! If you fancy a look at my full Christmas offerings, see here.

Orders can be collected from my open morning at A4 Self Store on St Peters Road (SL6 7QU) by arrangement between 10 and noon on  Saturday 19th December or on one of my delivery rounds.

Starting Out: £25 (usually £27, over 7% saving)

Established: £30 (usually £32.50, over 7.5% saving)

  • Clip Loureiro Vinho Verde 2014, Minho, Portugal. Light, minerally with refreshing spritziness (canapes and shellfish) WHITE
  • Bodegas Carchelo 2013, Jumilla, Spain. (40% Monastrell, 40% Tempranillo, 20% Cab Sauv) Cigars, smooth chocolate, juicy black cherries. (Beef short ribs, mac ‘n’ cheese) RED
  • Anna de Codorniu Blanc de Noirs Cava NV, Spain. (Pinot Noir) Dry, smooth with delicious crisp red apple. Perfect party (Indian curry, hotdogs) FIZZ

Gold: £35 (usually £38, a 7.9% saving)

  • Domaine Chauveau Pouilly Fumé 2014,Loire Valley, France. (Sauvignon Blanc) Dry, crisp lemony acidity with a long mineral flint finish. Classic Pouilly Fumé. (Pork) WHITE
  • Calmel + Joseph ‘Les Crus’ Terrasses du Larzac 2013, Languedoc, France. (Mourvedre, Grenache, Syrah) Big, luxurious, velvety cherry, blackcurrant, mint & meaty tannin. (lamb shank) RED
  • Anna de Codorniu Blanc de Noirs Cava NV, Spain. (Pinot Noir) Dry, smooth with delicious crisp red apple. Perfect party (Indian curry, hotdogs) FIZZ

MBG Taster offer available 1 per customer. No other discount applied.  See other pre-selected mixed cases here and full wine list available here if you’d like to pick from the full list. Usual 5% case discount is on orders of 6 bottles or more for delivery within 7 miles of Maidenhead. Please see Ts and Cs for usual delivery area, costs and payment terms and conditions.

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Filed under Eating/ Drinking In, Home Counties, Maidenhead, Party Wine, Uncategorized

Autumn Wine Tasting 2015: The Assembly Room, Marlow

PerfectFridayWineMarlowOct2015(124)I’ve just about caught up after all the excitement from this year’s Perfect Friday Wine Autumn Customer Wine Tasting that took place on Saturday 10th October. Attracting almost 80 wine lovers from the locality in Berkshire and Buckinghamshire, many from my main stomping ground of Maidenhead, the tasting was held at the historic Assembly Room in Marlow. Not only the perfect venue with high ceilings and large, period windows offering the best view down Marlow High Street, many of my guests, as do I, fondly remember the venue as upstairs at The Crown pub, back in the days when we were more likely to be drinking Hooch rather than fine wine .

PerfectFridayWineMarlowOct2015(40)

One of my favourite things about owning Perfect Friday Wine is introducing people to fabulous, well priced wines from grapes or regions they may not have come across previously, and this event, just like last year’s at Stanlake Park, gave me the opportunity to show off almost all of the wines I’ve chosen for the PFW portfolio under one roof, without a gazebo or fingerless glove in sight.

Judging by the happy smiling faces of the tasters – many making the most of babysitters and tagging lunch or dinner on either end, everyone enjoyed themselves. I love arranging these tastings for all to enjoy and it was great to see such a great crowd having the chance to discover new wines at a tasting of this format outside of London. Guests ranged from serious wine lovers taking thorough tasting notes to groups of friends enjoying an afternoon away from the kids. Considering all this and that I’ve spent the days since on the less glamorous duties of unloading pallets of wine and delivering wine for folk to enjoy in the comfort of their own home, when asked ‘how did it go?’, I’d say, yes, a resounding success.

So now that I’ve got the important bit of delivering the vast majority of the post-event orders, I’d like to say a BIG thank you to everybody who helped on the day and to all of those who came along to taste – without whom, the event would not have been possible.

PerfectFridayWineMarlowOct2015(35) PerfectFridayWineMarlowOct2015(88) PerfectFridayWineMarlowOct2015(16)

If you couldn’t make it or needed your memory jogged, we tasted wines from over 9 importers and English vineyards, spanning 7 countries, the majority from France, England, South America, Spain and Portugal; most poured by representatives from each of those importers. Many guests took the opportunity to taste new wines from Argentina, with the highly concentrated and limey Povenir Laborum Torrontes causing much excitement, as did the luxurious Malbec blend ‘Pleno’ from Tempus Alba.

Most excitingly, we were privileged enough to welcome wine maker Kevin Sutherland from Bluebell Vineyard Estates, travelling all the way from rural East Sussex, mid-harvest, to pour his excellent English Sparkling wines, with the Blancs de Blancs going down a storm.

We also welcomed new wines from Spain and Portugal, the newly introduced Legaris Verdejo proving to be popular, alongside the refreshing and spritzy Clip Loureiro Vinho Verde (my current Picpoul de Pinet replacement). Legaris’ reds also shone with one of my favourite wines, their Ribera Del Duero Reserva winning admirers, alongside fellow Spaniard, one of my current bestsellers, El Bonne Homme from Valencia. Port lovers were also catered for this year with both a traditionally made Tawny and LBV Port from family producer Vieira de Sousa available to try, proving very popular with one gorgeous bunch of Finnish ladies who left as Port converts.

Alongside the popular Calmel and Joseph reds from Languedoc and classic northern french favourites, were the fabulous Casa Silva’s Chilean wines proving as crowd-pleasing as always with the elegant Cool Coast Sauvignon Blanc and the Gran Terroir Syrah going down a treat.

If you were wondering which wines were the favourite of the day, I’ve put together some ‘Tasting Cases‘ of those most popular wines. That way, if you needed a reminder of the fabulous wines you tasted or feel like you missed out, order a case (tasting notes included) and enjoy at home.

PerfectFridayWineMarlowOct2015(106) PerfectFridayWineMarlowOct2015(89) PerfectFridayWineMarlowOct2015(97)

My thanks also extends to the current owner of The Assembly Room, who I’ve teamed up with several times this year to run Wine Tasting Dinners as well as this tasting. Sadly, for me, Sarah is leaving the venue to focus on her wedding and event catering business Feast, but I hope to continue working with Sarah and on the event side, will team up with new venues to continue to bring you more pop-up tasting rooms for the new year. You don’t of course need to wait that long to taste more great wines, order your tasting case today for local home delivery or sign up to the PFW newsletter at the bottom of the page to keep up to date with upcoming events between now and Christmas!

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Harvest at an English Vineyard

Whereas I just left the sunny Languedoc in full swing, with the majority of their harvest safely in tanks, things are only just starting to get going in the UK on the grape harvest for the 2015 wine vintage.

Grapes need a whole lot of sunshine hours to ripen, and although the UK days are long, as you’ll know, the sunshine can be a little minimal. In the hot and dry regions of the world, grapes have no problem ripening, but in cooler climates like the UK, we’re reliant on a long growing season to maximise the grape ripeness to develop the sugars and flavours in the grape to produce enough alcohol. A long, warm September like we’re experiencing definitely helps to ripen off the grapes and vineyards around the South East of England are now beginning to plan their 2015 harvest.

If fancy getting involved with harvesting at a vineyard, look no further to many of the vineyards here in the UK who are on the look out for volunteers or others selling tickets for those less green fingered amongst you who fancy more of an ‘experience’. Of the 400+ vineyards in the UK, there’s loads of harvesting opportunity to be had, but here are a handful of the ones that I’m familiar with in the South East, all producing excellent wine and guaranteed to show you a great day out however hard you fancy working;

Photo of TIm singlehandedly brining in the 2014 harevest (stolen blatantly from Chafor's Facebook.com/chaforwine page)

Tim singlehandedly bringing in the 2014 harvest (Photo credit: Guy Adams from Chafor’s Facebook.com/chaforwine page)

Chafor Wine Estate,  Gawcott, Buckinghamshire, MK18 4HT

Be part of the CHAFOR Grand Harvest 2015 on 17th and/ or 18th October. Tim Chafor heads up this family owned vineyard set in the midst of the Buckinghamshire countryside, not far from Oxford and Milton Keynes. Their first release of still wines was their 2013 vintage, featuring award winning Bacchus, Chardonnay and Rosé, their sparkling wine is yet to be released.

Perks include lunch (FYI, Tim has a pizza oven and does jolly fine pizzas!), wine to take home and a VIP invitation to the Grand Harvest Supper.

Book your place now: info@chafor.co.uk or call Tim on: 07973 892427

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One of the hottest days this summer in the vineyard back in early July.

Oaken Grove Vineyard, Fawley, Henley-on-Thames, Buckinghamshire (just over the Oxfordshire border).

We helped owner, Phil Rossi, with his bountiful harvest on a beautiful sunny, autumnal day last year, picking his Bacchus grapes. I say we, because it was a family affair and the kids came too and were surprisingly, not too annoying. This year, he hopes that harvesting will start on 17th October for the Bacchus and the following weekend for the Pinot Noir, so drop him a Facebook message or email to get involved. He’ll also be at the Perfect Friday Wine Tasting afternoon in Marlow on 10th October, if you wanted to have a chat before you sign up! [You can buy Oaken Grove Benham Blush here]

Last year, we were fed a well earned hog roast with all the trimmings, tasted newly released wines and got sent home with a bottle. A fabulous day to spend one of those last days of summer around Henley.

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Boutique wines at their finest at Dropmore Vineyard, just to the north of Burnham, Bucks.

Dropmore Vineyard, Littleworth Common, Buckinghamshire, SL1 8NF

Perhaps Maidenhead’s closest vineyard, the Dropmore harvest is a real family affair. With just 3 acres of vines, this is as boutique as they come and the delicious Bacchus White and Pinot Blush have both won awards. Owned by John Petersen, drop him a line if you fancy lending a helping hand. Harvest starts on 11th October and will continue throughout October. Word on the street has it that Dropmore offer the best harvest catering going! [You can buy Dropmore Vineyard Bacchus here]

John will also be at the Perfect Friday Wine Tasting afternoon in Marlow on 10th October, so he can check you out before he lets you near the vines!

Pinot Noir grapes in stage of 'veraison' (colour change) earlier in the summer at Bluebell.

Pinot Noir grapes in stage of ‘veraison’ (colour change) earlier in the summer at Bluebell.

Bluebell Vineyard Estates, Furners Green, East Sussex, TN22 3RU

More of an experience than a horticultural work out, Bluebell are hosting a day in the vines on Saturday 17th October, 10-3pm. Spend the morning hand-harvesting grapes followed by a delicious lunch overlooking the vineyard, then a tutored tasting of their fabulous sparkling wines, made onsite, led by wine maker Kevin Sutherland. Also, taste the grape juice, fresh off the press (which, is sooooo tasty and described to me as ‘the nectar’ by one Saint-Chinian vineyard worker). [You can buy Bluebell Vineyard Estates Brut Rosé and Seyval Blanc here]

Call 01825 791561 or email wineinfo@bluebellvineyard.co.uk to book your tickets at £40 per head (well worth it for being wined and dined in such a beautiful setting). Or come and meet Bluebell Vineyard at the Perfect Friday Wine Tasting afternoon in Marlow on 10th October.

 

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Filed under English Wine, Home Counties, Maidenhead, Seasonal, Seyval Blanc, Sparkling, Wine Tasting, Wine Travel