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Thames Valley marks English wine
May 2010

VINEYARDS in Oxfordshire and Berkshire are throwing open their cellars and vineyards for wine tastings, open days and winery tours during English Wine Week from May 29 to June 6.

In Oxfordshire the Bothy Vineyard at Frilford Heath near Abingdon has Vineyard Open Days on Bank Holiday weekend May 29-31, and also June 5-6. Visitors are welcome to bring a picnic to eat in the vineyard, join the guided tours and enjoy free tastings.

Wine makers Sian and Richard Liwicki at Bothy Vineyard have a wide range of wines. In addition to their popular still whites - Oxford Dry 2009 and Renaissance 2009 - and rosé Oxford Pink 2009, there are limited stocks of the Trophy winning medium sweet Paradox.

New wines to the range are Cote Bothy, a red wine made from a blend of red and white grapes grown on site, and Oxford Fumé, the first ever oaked white made from Bacchus grapes. Both wines are made using French oak barrels imported from Burgundy. A new sparkling white, Halcyon Days, will also be available.

Brightwell Wines at Shillingford Hill near Wallingford are celebrating winning Bronze Awards in the International Wine and Spirit Competition 2010 for white wines Brightwell Bacchus and Brightwell Oxford Flint from the 2008 vintage. Brightwell Crispin Dry 2008 won Bronze Medal in the Decanter World Wine Awards.

Carol and Bob Nielsen from Brightwell Vineyard are hosting guided tours on Sunday, May 30, and Sunday, June 6. Each tour, which is suitable for all the family, starts at 3pm and includes 14 acres of vineyard and Thameside nature walk.

The largest vineyard in Berkshire, Stanlake Park Wine Estate near Twyford is celebrating English Wine Week with a unique Wine and Chocolate Experience in partnership with Rumsey’s Hand-made Chocolates from Thame, Oxfordshire.

Throughout the Bank Holiday weekend there are guided tours of the vineyard and winery (£10 p/p) with tutored wine tasting and a free glass of bubbly.

Stanlake Park Wine Estate is launching Pinot Blush 2008 and a delicious Kir Royale, a combination of 20-year-old blackcurrant liqueur from the estate with Stanlake’s rosé and sparkling wines. The white wine Stanlake Regatta 2007 won Bronze Medal in the Decanter World Wine Awards.

All three vineyards and Rumsey’s Hand-made Chocolates are members of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire (BBO) Food Group, the only business support organisation dedicated to supporting producers of local food and drink in the area.

Tamara Schiopu, director of BBO Food Group CIC, said: “We have some of the best wine in England grown here in the Thames Valley.

“English Wine Week is a great opportunity for people to visit vineyards, enjoy the delicious wines and learn more about the business of wine making.”
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