5 vineyards to visit near Rye

5 Vineyards To Visit Near Rye

Plan the perfect English wine adventure with our guide to vineyards near Rye.

 5 Vineyards Near Rye You Really Must Visit

Rye is the perfect base for visiting some of the most exciting wineries in the UK.  My list of 5 vineyards near Rye includes the largest wine producer in the UK and the most awarded. There is also a pioneering organic vineyard (with the best picnic ever) a boutique winery that will give you Burgundy vibes and last, but not least, one of the trendiest wineries in the UK.

All 5 vineyards near Rye are just a short taxi journey or drive away. And some producers will even collect you from the station. If you are coming from London, Rye is easily accessible by train (just over an hour from St Pancras). And when you are done English wine tasting Rye has lots to offer. It is an enchanting medieval town which will also satisfy your antiquing and culinary desires (see my tips at the end). With a range of accommodation options which includes the recently revamped The George and The Gallivant nestled by Camber Sands, you simply must visit.

Chapel Down one of 5 vineyards to visit near Rye

#1  Chapel Down – For The Most Famous Winery Near Rye

The Chapel Down Lowdown

When an enthusiast (not me, promise) inevitably carves a Mount Rushmore-esque monument to English sparkling wine’s pioneers into the Sussex hills, one would expect Chapel Down to be included. With arguably some of the best vineyard sites across the country, dating back to 1977, Chapel Down is now England’s leading wine producer and can be found in restaurants, supermarkets, and 10 Downing Street. As a publicly listed company, Chapel Down is the largest producer in the UK and it offers a premium visiting experience near picturesque Rye.

Chapel Down’s Style of Wine

Chapel Down produces award-winning sparkling and still wines from their Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, and Bacchus vines. There is real range across their sparkling wines. This includes classic Brut and Rosé styles and their gently carbonated Touch of Sparkle. For a bottle of Chapel Down you won’t find in the supermarket, try something from the Kit’s Coty collection. And it’s hard to choose between their crisp, aromatic still white wines, delicate rosés, and elegant light red wines. Made from a Chardonnay clone unique to their vineyards, Chapel
Down’s Discovery Series Chardonnay 2021 is particularly worth hunting down while
you’re there.

The Fun Part

With its 2AA Rosette restaurant, The Swan, Chapel Down is a culinary destination in its own right. I’d suggest booking a guided tour and tasting for the afternoon and then work up your appetite ahead of dinner by exploring the grounds and herb garden.  Before leaving, please don’t forget to raid their Winery Shop to ensure you’re well stocked up back at home. With their Deluxe Gift and Luxury Dining Experiences, Chapel Down also offers something particularly special should you really want to celebrate.

Distance from Rye– 17 minutes by taxi
Imagine – An English wine lover’s playground and our unique version of
Franschhoekian wine tourism
Visit Chapel Down

Charles Palmer Vineyard near Rye
Under the ancient walnut tree looking out onto Charles Palmer vineyards

#2 – Charles Palmer Vineyards – For A Rustic Vineyard Experience Near Rye

The Lowdown

Sitting above a bed of Kimmeridgian clay similar to Chablis, Charles Palmer Vineyards is a family run wine estate in nearby Winchelsea. Having owned the estate since 1998, Charles Palmer and his family hand planted their first vines in 2006 specifically with the aim of producing the highest quality English sparkling wine. Today, 35 acres of vines sit across 8 different vineyard blocks benefitting from their coastal location and carefully chosen slopes. Having initially relied on the skills of the legendary Will Davenport (who has his own winery – Davenport Vineyards), Charles now oversees production in-house with his son Robert and has diversified into still wines.

Charles Palmer’s Style of Wine

Charles Palmer favours minimal intervention, natural ferment, and long lees contact, resulting in an extensive range of sparkling and still wines with real texture and concentration of flavour reflecting their terroir. On the sparkling side, they have produced Blanc de Blancs, Classic Cuvées, Demi-Sec, Rosé, and Special Reserve styles. Yet, it’s their still Chardonnay and Rosé from the celebrated 2018 vintage which most tickle my fancy. As a dog lover, I think Charles Palmer has one of the best bottle labels going. Combined with their distinctive sealing wax, these bottles are great wine rack candy and worth their £22 and £20 prices.

Charles Palmer Chardonnay 2018 available on Marasby now

The fun part

Charles Palmer makes it into my list of 5 wineries to visit near Rye for its warm welcome. Pop in for a glass of wine next to their roaring log burner within their cellar. Enjoy their signature vineyard feast two course lunch. Or sit under the ancient walnut tree with a basket of local cheese and charcuterie. Whatever experience you choose, Charles Palmer hospitality is superb.  They offer full or half day packages which include transport from your accommodation. If you don’t want to leave, there are two private suites onsite within the Palmer family home. Honestly, they have thought of everything, which, as you will see, is a consistent
theme across all 5 wineries.

Distance from Rye – 11 minutes by taxi
Imagine – Stunning views of rolling vineyards and the Brede Valley paired with
excellent hospitality and high quality sparkling and still wines
Visit Charles Palmer Vineyards

Gusbourne Wine Estate near Rye
Gusbourne Wine Estate near Rye

#3 – Gusbourne Estate – For The Most Prestigious Vineyard Near Rye

The Lowdown

Gusbourne is the most awarded winery in the UK and is synonymous with prestigious award-winning sparkling and still wines. Gusbourne planted their first vines in 2004 in sandy clay at Boot Hill not far from Rye. While they have since expanded to include two chalk sites near
Goodwood, Boot Hill drives the quality of their delicious still Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in particular. While I write this, a bottle of their Guinevere Chardonnay 2021 winks at me suggestively from across the room. If only it wasn’t a Tuesday morning. With sustainability at the heart of their operations, Gusbourne is a feature of London wine lists and will become one of your favourites too.

Gusbourne’s Style of Wine

Gusbourne exclusively produces vintage wines using grapes solely sourced from their own vineyards. This makes it one of England’s handful of estate grown and bottled producers.  If conditions in a particular year don’t deliver the quality they demand from a vintage, they don’t release it. Gusbourne’s dedication to their craft results in a fantastic selection of sparkling styles, including their elegant Blanc de Blancs (available on here on Marasby) and their most exclusive vintage yet Fifty One Degrees North 2016. But don’t forget to try their Chardonnay and Pinot Noir too. With visionary winemaker Charlie Holland having left last year to head up the global behemoth Jackson Family Wines’ first venture into English wine, Mary Bridges’ hand is now on the tiller. At 30 years’ old, Mary is one of the leading lights of the new generation of English winemakers alongside Langham Wine Estate’s Tommy Grimshaw and Sarah Massey at Lyme Bay. I’m excited to see where Gusbourne goes under Mary’s stewardship.

Gusbourne rose

The Fun Part

Alongside your classic sparkling and still wine tastings, Gusbourne offers mouth-watering picnics and estate tours combined with a 3-course lunch. Yet it’s worth trying to time your trip with their standout special events. Their upcoming Winemakers’ Edition Masterclass on 26 April and A Tale of Two Terroirs during English Wine Week in June will be particularly special.

There is so much to recommend a visit to Gusbourne no list of 5 vineyards near Rye would be complete without it.

Distance from Rye – 14 minutes by taxi
Imagine – Drinking some of the best wine that England has to offer in an idyllic
Visit Gusbourne Estate

Kristin owner Oxney Organic wine estate
Kristin Syltevik, owner Oxney Organic Wine Estate near Rye

#4 – Oxney Organic Estate For The Best Vineyard Picnic Near Rye

The Lowdown

In Oxney, Kristin Syltevik and her partner Paul Dobson have built the largest single-estate producer of English organic wine. With 35 acres in the beautiful High Weald area, their sustainable, low-intervention approach underpins high quality winemaking in their converted Grade II listed oast house. Visiting at the end of last summer, I really felt at peace among their sun-drenched vines. Oxney is a beautiful site, with an incredibly friendly team pouring some fantastic wines. It’s an oasis which will always have a place in my heart and that indulgent afternoon with my wife and best friends will live long in my memory. Oxney is an absolute must on my list of 5 vineyards near Rye.   Read the Marasby Oxney winery profile. 

Oxney’s Style of Wine

Kristin and Paul are successfully challenging expectations around organic wine production in this country. Having happily tasted Oxney’s wines, their unyielding confidence in their convictions is not surprising. Favouring wild ferments, no filtration, and minimal use of sulphur dioxide, their wines are really, really good. Their Estate NV sparkling is top class, together with a Brut NV, Rosé sparkling, and an interesting collab with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage. Yet, their still Chardonnay and Rosé really stayed with me and can be found on Marabsy. Oxney Chardonnay Oxney Rosé.

Oxney Organic Estate shepherd hut - five wineries to visit near Rye.
Stay in a shepherd’s hut on the Oxney Organic vineyard.

The Fun Part

Oxney wears the crown for the best vineyard picnic hamper I’ve tasted so far in my English wine adventure. We’re talking cheese, lots of cheese, wild boar charcuterie, freshly baked bread, falafel (my wife’s vegetarian), olives, and juicy tomatoes. I could go on. Paired with well chilled carafes of their Rosé, a table overlooking the vines, and their adorable spaniel for company, what’s not to love. Intoxicating in so many ways post-tasting, it’s not surprising we came away laden with souvenirs from the cellar door. Oxney also offers stylish accommodation catering for all party sizes. On the vineyard, couples can choose between two shepherd’s huts and larger groups their wonderful house which sleeps 10. If you’re really celebrating, the Oxney Barns
a short drive away can cater for 14.

Distance from Rye – 15 minutes by taxi
Imagine – Building your own English vineyard and winery. Oxney is that, and more.
Understated tranquility with high quality wines to match.
Visit Oxney Organic Estate

Tillingham Wine Estate near Rye

#5 – Tillingham The Trendiest Winery Near Rye

The Lowdown

Tillingham is the rebellious, cooler kid in this line-up. With a focus on regenerative farming and minimal intervention, Tillingham pushes the boundaries with its experimental approach to winemaking. That quickly becomes evident upon entering the site as you see qvevri clay pots buried in the ground next to where Tillingham’s iconic wooly Mangalica pigs roam. You can’t help but take a picture of the pigs – the vineyard’s unofficial mascots. Tillingham combines exciting, genre-defying wines with a bar, restaurant, and boutique rooms which stand out for their slick Scandi design. Tillingham was the first English vineyard I visited and it really lit a fire within me. I have no doubt it will do the same to you.

Tillingham’s Style of Wine

Founder Ben Walgate has moved on to start an urban winery in Rye (more on that to follow). But the adventurous and innovative spirit at the heart of Tillingham’s wines continues under Salvatore Leone from Oxney. With a large number of grape varieties across their 7 blocks, Tillingham’s offering is more diverse than most and should cater for all tastes in your group. Their Col and Qvevri Orange wines are particularly good, as are their Field Blends. I also recently tried their 100 wine, which is an intriguing blend of Pinot Noir Rosé and organic apple juice. At 7.5% ABV, it’s a perfect refreshing option should you visit during the summer.

harvest at Tillingham 5 wineries to visit near Rye

The Fun Part

Whether it’s taking advantage of the wood-fired oven in their Pizza Barn, feasting on lamb shoulder for Sunday lunch, or treating yourself to their five course Garden tasting menu in their Restaurant, Tillingham have all bases covered for your post-tasting feed. Meanwhile, their relaxed Bar makes Tillingham a great place to put the world to rights over a couple of bottles. Should you decide to stay on-site, I can also vouch for the quality of their rooms and breakfast spread. To get the full winery experience, I would suggest volunteering to help with their harvest. They advertised this on their Instagram last summer and it’s one of the best things I’ve done –
handsomely paid in pizza and wine!

Distance from Rye – 11 minutes by taxi
Imagine – Delicious wines which broaden your horizons and a bar which you’ll never
want to leave
Visit Tillingham

5 Wineries Near Rye

You could easily devote an entire day to each of these 5 wineries near Rye. If you’re down just for the weekend, then I would suggest luxuriating at one on the Saturday and then swinging by another for Sunday lunch on your way back home. To really do justice to them and Rye though, I think you need an indulgent long weekend or longer. If this will be your first trip, I’m jealous. If you’re a repeat customer or, even better, a local, then I doff my wine-stained cap to you.

Tom’s Tips – Rye

Best place for coffee – Rae Store
Top spot for a pint post-wine fatigue – Rye Waterworks Micropub
Best place for dinner – The Union

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