Denbies Wine Estate

London Road, Dorking, Surrey RH5 6AA

Dituated in the heart of the Surrey Hills, just an hour outside London, Denbies is England’s largest single estate vineyard – producing 12 award-winning wines, including a Cubitt Blanc de Noir that won a Decanter Gold award in 2021. It's particularly well known for its sparkling whites, and as one of rhe first large-svale English vineyards – originally a pig farm, set up in the mid-1980s by Adrian and Jill White when they realised they were sitting on soil that was a dead-ringer for that of the Champagne region. As it turns out, he wasn't the first one to recognise the quality of soil and how the lay of the land lent itself to grape production – research shows that, in AD100, the Romans had a vineyard at Bagden Farm, less than 350m away. The best way to appreciate this, of course, is to come and do a tasting. Wine tours operate all year round (with outdoor and indoor options, and all sorts of tasting-and-restaurant combos), and there's even a 'Vineyard Train' that runs around the vines. If you find yourself more tempted to swallow than spit, you can purchase bottles in the well-stocked shop, have lunch at their Gallery restaurant, or better still stay the night at their classy Vineyard Hotel, which offers 17 lovely en-suite rooms with vineyard views, and a great restaurant for dinner.

Those of a more active persuasion should check out the 'Bacchus' event, which happens annually just before the grape harvest in September and features a series of running events, ranging from a short fun run through to a half-marathon distance challenge through the vines, across the sprawling 627-acre estate and out along the bridleways and trails that crisscross the hills nearby, with the opportunity for athletes to sample Denbies' full range of wines en route. Messy, messy, messy. Many entrants run in fancy dress, and there's a big shindig at the end of it all.

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