Welcome to Biddenden
Biddenden is the oldest vineyard in Kent. Originally setup in 1969 and with vines in place since the 1970s, it’s both an old man of wine and a trailblazer at the same time.
I walked around the vineyard with Julian Barnes, the current owner and second generation of farmers to work this land. His 3 sons also now work in the business, helping run the vineyard, shop, winery and participating in cidermaking and apple pressing etc.
The vines are looking strong and healthy and putting on plenty of growth with the Gamay just starting to flower. Altogether there are 11 different varieties of grapes across 24 acres producing award winning white, rosé, red and sparkling wines:
- Ortega – this is the main grape grown with just over half the vineyard planted with this. This forms the basis of several of the white wines (still and sparkling)
- Pinot Noir
- Gamay (for the Sparkling Rosé)
The marked vineyard walk is 20 minutes and takes in all the grapes and the wildflower meadow (full of flowers and bees when we walked through).
The vineyard shop
The vineyard shop is a delight with Biddenden wines, ciders, fruit juices sitting alongside local spirits and artisan nibbles from local suppliers including Cheesemakers of Canterbury.
The vineyard and shop are open daily from 10am to 5pm Monday to Saturday and 11am to 5pm on Sundays and Bank Holidays.
“Semi-aromatic on the nose, displays appealing fresh aromas of green apple, grapefruit, cut grass and flora, whilst the palate is medium bodied, crisp, characterful and deliciously fruity. Delicious when served as an aperitif, this refreshing white would also pair well with lightly spicy dishes and simple seafood” according to the Biddenden website. I tried this one, liked it and bought it, a very clean and crisp taste.
Pinot Noir 2016
In a beautiful bottle, this one was picked out in a recent tasting in London by wine expert, Matthew Jukes. A pale red in colour and delicious in taste, the grapes are hand-picked. I also tried the Gribble Ridge Dornfelder 2016 but preferred the Pinot Noir (so I bought some of this)
If you like Sauvignon Blanc then you’ll like Bacchus. Named after the God of Wine
Kent Wine Trail
Biddenden is also part of the Kent Wine Trail, a wine tour taking in 7 of the local vineyards (Biddenden, Chapel Down (Tenterden), Champagne Taittinger’s Domain Evremond (Chilham), Gusbourne (Appledore), Hush Heath (Staplehurst), Simpsons Wine Estate (Barham) and Squerryes at Westerham.)
Day, weekend and four day tours have been suggested. You can find out more at www.winegardenofengland.co.uk
Events at Biddenden
The previous weekend Biddenden hosted a food and drink festival with stands from lots of local suppliers. This was a great success with people queueing over a mile back to the main road so it is likely to be run again next year.
Charity Tours on Saturday
Each Saturday throughout the year there is a charity tour at 10am. Each person pays £1 and the money goes to Dandelion Time helping children and their families who are victims of abuse and neglect. to book ring 01580 291726 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Open Air Shakespeare
Measure for Measure at Biddenden on 5 August at 5pm. You can book in advance at www.changeling-theatre.com or on the door. £12 and bring your own chairs and rugs.