Kent wine partners to create England’s ‘Napa Valley’

Seven Kentish wineries have created a partnership to “champion and develop” the county’s wine tourism offering.

Called The Wine Garden of England, the group is working with tourist board Visit Kent to create a world-class wine trail and visitor experience.

With a combined 120,000 visitors a year, the seven founding members of the Wine Garden of England are: Biddenden Vineyards, Chapel Down (pictured), Domaine Evremond, Gusbourne, Hush Heath Estate, Simpsons Wine Estate and Squerryes.

Sandra Matthews-Marsh, Visit Kent chief executive, said: “We are thrilled to be working with this pioneering group of wineries. Together we will further establish the county as a stunning rural escape and England’s own ‘Napa Valley’, where visitors are invited to relax and explore, tasting a huge range of stunning English wines whilst learning the fascinating stories of these beautifully picturesque vineyards.”

Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger, of Champagne Taittinger and Kent collaboration Domaine Evremond, added: “Kent is one of the warmest and driest counties of England, and we were delighted to find some beautiful land, on chalk, near the charming village of Chilham. We planted our first vines in May last year at Domaine Evremond.

“We were welcomed with open arms by the other producers in the region and I am delighted that we are joining forces with six of the top Kentish wineries in the spirit of friendship, to form the Wine Garden of England and work together proactively to promote the wonderful wines of the region.”

A new website will provide itineraries for day trips and weekend breaks, along with wine tours.

The site will eventually allow visitors to purchase wines from the partners, and create a personalised wine trail around the county.