Denbies Wine Estate

 Undeterred by the first rainy day in weeks, 40 of us set off for Surrey, full of anticipation! On arrival we had to leave the coach and travel through the estate in a land train – little carriages towed by a tractor – because the railway bridge was too low for the coach to pass under. As the forecast was for the weather to deteriorate throughout the day, we reboarded the land train for a 50-minute tour of the vineyard. The views of the estate were amazing as we toured uphill and round the rim of the valley looking across to Dorking and Box Hill. At this point the rain poured down and then cleared so that Dorking appeared out of the mist! Our guide gave us a very informative talk (he was standing in the rain!) on the 350,000 vines and 7 miles of footpaths, which wind through the wooded parts of the estate. There are many different varieties of grapes grown to give the various types of wine and Denbies have won many awards, particularly for their sparkling wines. After the tour we returned to the main complex and had lunch in the excellent conservatory restaurant. There was time for a visit to the Farm Shop and Plant Shop before going to the cinema for a film giving details of the history and operation of the vineyard. We then had a tour of the winery, which was not in operation as the grapes were not ready for harvesting. At least we didn’t have to tread the grapes! We then had a tasting session and returned to the shop in time to make our selection before getting back on the land train for a ride back to the coach. Altogether a very rewarding and interesting day. We will toast Sue Glyn-Woods with our first bottle of Surrey Gold and say thank you for a brilliant day.

Barbara & Graham Slough