This week I went on a wine tour of Denbies Wine Estate in Dorking, Surrey with some girlfriends (hi y'all!). Complete with a tour, wine tasting, shopping, and lunch in the panoramic Gallery Restaurant, I learned that this vineyard is the largest in England, grows 10% of UK plantings, and was established just in 1986. Its similar geography to Champagne, France was the reason this property was purchased in the first place.
In the beginning, neighbors thought it was a cucumber farm when they first starting planting their puny 2 year old grapevines. Today Denbies mostly makes white wines, many of which have won awards putting England on the map in the wine world.
|Denbies Wine Estate|
Now the plot thickens as I share a few interesting places to store your precious wines in England...
WW2 Air Raid Shelter
During WWII, Brooklands in Weybridge, Surrey was a hub of military aircraft manufacturing, and therefore a prime target. One of the UK's largest surviving air raid shelters was built there and now has become a perfect underground vault for wine storage just 40 minutes outside London.
Remaining sealed and unspoilt for almost 60 years, many original artifacts such as posters and signs remain in this cool, dark, and constant environment. The EHD redevelopment team has been very mindful of the war effort and will erect a plaque in the vaults in their honor. See Locke-King Vaults for more details.
Old Stone Mine
|A Bath Stone Mine|
This vast underground complex deep beneath the hills of Wiltshire was originally a quarry of famous Bath stone from 1868 to 1934. The Corsham site was then taken over by the Ministry of Defense to use as a munitions storage facility with impregnable security as it is deep underground and encased in stone (bomb-proof too!). These qualities have been capitalized on by Octavian Vaults's Corsham Cellars.
(In fact, many stone mines were used as Cold War nuclear bunkers)
|Champagne Bottles On The Titanic|
Perhaps old shipwrecks inspired French wine buffs to think of submerging their wine bottles off the coast of Normandy, France. Currently certain winemakers, such as Louis Roederer, are experimenting to see if the gentle rock, constant temperature, and lack of light underwater will make a superior wine.
I have such an appreciation of new twists on old ideas :)