3 South Devon Vineyards, 3 English Sparkling Wines!
When you’re serving something as emotional as English Sparkling Wine or Champagne, it’s essential you like the product yourself!
That’s why we’ve spent a good deal of time meeting with suppliers and producers and sampling the wine we’re going to be serving onboard The Fizz Boat. I know, it’s a tough job but someone’s got to do it! And here's 3 we really liked.
When we discovered the excellent quality of English Sparkling Wine and recognised many local producers were winning awards, not only locally hut internationally too, we knew we had to make it a priority to find a local source we could serve on The Fizz Boat.
So in the last two weeks we’ve met three very different local vineyards, producing sparkling wines we’d be happy to serve to our guests onboard The Fizz Boat and all within an hours drive of Dartmouth.
First Was Huxbear vineyard at Chudleigh, Newton Abbot, where a lovely couple, Ben and Lucy, planted their vines in 2007 on the south west facing slopes of The Huxbear Estate, producing a number of award winning wines over the years.
Ben’s passion for winemaking clearly shone through as he proudly explained that he sits on the panel of the judges for The Independent English Wine Awards and although he will be entering his Sparkling Wine this year, he isn’t allowed to comment on his own entry!
Living with their children, among the vines in a log cabin, winemaking is clearly a passion and a labour of love for this couple and their skill and enthusiasm shine through in the wine they produce.
Second, Pebblebed Vineyard, just south of Exeter, in Topsham, is a little more established, having initially been planted in 1999, when a group of local families, around 11 in all came together, having had the idea to plant vines and produce their own wine.
I wonder if they imagined back then just how successful it would become, having planted that first half acre of vines back then, they now produce around 50,000 bottles per year from about 20 acres of vineyard.
Alex the wine maker and manager of the vineyard was delightfully informative and proud to explain the process they use to make sparkling wine by the traditional method, ‘Methode Champenoise’, in fact just like the other vineyards we visited and still ‘riddling’ the bottles by hand as Dom Perignon would have done back in the 17th Century!
Sharpham Wine And Cheese
And most recently we visited Sharpham Estate, home of Sharpham Wine and Cheese, situated right on the banks of the river Dart, less than six miles upriver from Dartmouth and the most established of our local vineyards, having been producing wine for over 37 years, winning numerous awards and becoming well known in the area as a visitor destination.
Tom, one of the Winemakers at Sharpham was friendly and knowledgeable as he explained the history and ethos behind wine production on the estate and when it came to tasting their sparkling wine, there were three very distinctly different and enjoyable wines, the Extra Brut in particular grabbed our attention!
So three local vineyards producing excellent sparkling wine, each with their own identity and story, all having the qualities we’d love to share as The Fizz Boat's English Fizz, something worth sharing, experiencing and savouring!
But we have taken the decision that at this point we will make Sharpham’s selection of Sparkling Wines The Fizz of choice we’ll serve onboard The Fizz Boat.
A Wiining Collaboration
Together with the quality of the wine and cheeses they produce, Sharpham’s location on the river we’ll be cruising and established visitor attraction make them the ideal partner to enhance the experience of our cruising guests, in fact we’ve already discussed a collaboration with South Devon Tours, to combine the two, providing a fantastic visitor experience for those living in or visiting the area in 2019.