In the latest edition of Seymours Prestige Homes luxury lifestyle and property magazine, we catch up with Sibylla Tindale, founder of High Clandon one of the area’s prestigious wine producers to tell us more about the Vineyards of the Surrey Hills collaboration.
The Vineyards of the Surrey Hills is a collaboration of five vineyards nestled in the glorious Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, comprising five outstanding local producers: Denbies Wine Estate, High Clandon, Albury Organic Vineyard, Chilworth Manor and Greyfriars, the collaboration was launched in 2017 to celebrate the combined excellence of these award-winning English wines.
Sibylla Tindale along with her husband Bruce owns High Clandon, a beautiful vineyard set in East Clandon just minutes from Guildford. It produces a range of multi-award winning Cuvees created in the classic method – Méthode Champenoise which are aged to perfection for five years.
As well as being an esteemed producer, Sibylla is a fervent supporter of the other growers that make up the Vineyards of the Surrey Hills. “What makes us special is the locale – the terroir producing gloriously flavoured grapes which become award-winning wines, both sparkling and still – and each is set in the most beautiful rolling hills of the Surrey downs,” she explains. “Warm welcomes, easy to reach, glorious wines grown in our chalky terroir – the same geology as that of the famous Champagne region in France.” According to Sibylla, the individual vineyards produce their own distinct varieties which adds to the choice for buyers without adding to the competition of the producers. “It’s almost like a smorgasbord,” she explains. “We all have a niche with something different to offer wine lovers.” She says that their individuality is also reflected in the events that offered throughout the year at the various vineyards, that includes tours, tastings, walks, weddings and even yoga classes.
One thing you can be assured of at all the locations is a warm welcome. “Yes, we are all very happy to meet people who come to the area to sample the produce. We are here to offer a taste of Surrey and to showcase this special county,” she adds.
Albury Organic Vineyard
Founder Nick Wenman had dreamed of owning a vineyard for 40 years. So after retiring from the IT industry in 2009, he seized his chance, creating a family-run business that has sustainability at its core.
According to the team: “Our focus is not just on the environment, it’s about valuing people and contributing to society, now and in the future. We’re committed to shaping the future of the UK wine industry through educating and inspiring others to strive towards greater sustainability.”
The vineyard produces a mix of still and sparkling wines – notably its multi-award winning Blanc de Noirs which scooped a 2022 Independent English Wine Award and earned Gold in the Decanter World Wine Awards.
Chilworth Manor Vineyard
Set in the historic surrounds of Chilworth Manor the vineyard comprises a 10-acre, south-facing site that provides fertile ground for the Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier grapes that make up a range of delicious wines. The family team is led by Mia and Graham who consider themselves the ‘guardians of Chilworth Manor’s history.
Made from hand-picked Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes, the Chilworth Manor Brut 2017 uses only the superior first gentle press of juice to ensure its golden hue or you could opt for Chilworth Manor Brut Rosé – ‘a classic method sparkling wine, vibrant pastel pink in colour with youthful purple hues and a delicate mousse.’
Denbies Wine Estate
One of Surrey’s most popular destinations, the Dorking-based vineyard has been flourishing on the slopes of the North Downs since 1986. As one of England’s largest single wine estates, it boasts 265 acres which are currently under vine, with a capacity to produce one million bottles. Visitors can enjoy a walk around its sumptuous setting, a meal in the restaurant or a browse around the extensive gift shop. There are tastings and tours galore and now even a hotel so you can extend your wine adventure even longer.
Denbies offers an array of award-winning red, white rose and orange wines, as well as sparkling varieties, including the Greenfields NV, an ‘elegant fizz’ which took Gold at the 2019 Independent English Wine Awards.
Billed as Surrey’s finest fizz, the Hoggs Back-based vineyard has been run by Mike and Hilary Wagstaff since 2011. One of the first in England to plant the traditional Champagne grape varieties (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier) the 40 acres is now also home to Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Blanc varieties.
According to the team, the aim is: “Not just to produce a Champagne ‘copy’ but rather to create a small range of great sparkling wines which reflects the unique geology, soil conditions, climate and heritage of the wonderful landscape of the Surrey North Downs.” The award-winning sparkling wines – Greyfriars Classic Cuvee and Greyfriars Vintage – have now been joined by a range of still wines Rose and Yvonne, with the latter being commissioned as a tribute to the women who risked their lives as part of the Special Operations Executive during the Second World War.
The Summer Spectacular
This summer, we are each hosting special events to mark our joint Summer Spectacular at the end of English Wine Week. High Clandon will consist of Open Days combined with a preview of its Art & Sculptures in the Vineyard and with pre-bookable ‘Battle of Waterloo Taste-off’ of four of our vineyards’ award-winning English Sparkling wines vs two Champagnes and hosted by a wine expert and raconteur. Sibylla says the ‘battle’ was a great success when we ran it in 2019 and as expected, like Napoleon, the champagnes were routed!
Visiting the Vineyards
The Vineyards of the Surrey Hills is this summer launching a ‘Passport’ to encourage visitors to explore and experience the five vineyards set in their locales. The Passport will offer the holder a gift from each vineyard visited and they then, after getting a stamp from a minimum of three vineyards, can then enter a prize draw to win a case of Vineyards of the Surrey Hills sparkling and still wines valued at c. £200.
English Wine Week:
English Wine Week runs from June 17 to June 25 and is an annual event to raise awareness of English wines to the wider public. Throughout the week there will be opportunities to tour and taste outlets across the country, as well as promotions in supermarkets, independent wine stores, hotels, pubs, restaurants and bars.
But for the best in Surrey wines (no matter what the week), head to surreyhillsvineyards.co.uk