South East England

Surrey vineyards are blessed with chalk soils perfect for English Sparkling Wine production.  And with many situated in Areas of Oustanding Natural Beauty they are beautiful to visit too.

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Surrey vineyards lie in the southeast of England just 20 miles from London. The county is the third largest wine producing region in the country and is blessed with chalk soil and areas of outstanding natural beauty.  Surrey Vineyards range in size from Denbies, which is one the largest single estates in the UK with the capacity to produce a million bottles to one of the smallest – Pewley Down Vineyard produces just a few thousand.

What grapes are grown in Surrey Vineyards?

German grape varietals such as Bacchus, Seyval Blanc and Solaris were historically the predominant grapes grown in Surrey vineyards.  These vines are specifically suited to cooler, wetter climates. In the 1990’s Chardonnay vines were planted at Greyfriars Estate and this planting marked a real trend towards the “noble” grape varietals: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. These grapes are best suited to the production of Classic Method English Sparkling Wine. Since the 21st century there have been plantings of other varietals including Sauvignon Blanc, which can be found at Leonardslee, Greyfriars and Denbies. And in more recent years producers have been experimenting with different blends and production techniques with German grape varietals – take Denbies Orange Wine – made from white Solaris grapes using red wine methods.

Do Surrey vineyards produce good wine?

Surrey is broadly known for its stunning North Downs, which is a chain of chalk hills that runs through Kent and central Surrey and on into Hampshire to the west.   These chalky lime and sandstone hills have the same geology as Champagne meaning it’s great for high quality English Sparkling Wine production.  Simon Huntington, Marasby co-founder, explains “chalk soil is favoured because of its free draining qualities. Vines that fight to get water send their roots deeper, this produces better quality grapes, which in turn will make better wine.”  The largest Surrey Vineyards are all found along this line of chalk and in 2019 six producers came together as the Vineyards of the Surrey Hills to tell their story and promote the region.

Many Surrey Vineyards hold awards for their wines, but this is not a county known for big hitters.  At the 2022 Wine GB Awards there were only 9 medal winning wines from the county, compare that to over 60 each for neighbouring counties Kent and Sussex and just under 20 for Hampshire. Awards are a useful guide, especially at this early stage in the industry, but they are dependent on so many factors and of course a vineyard must enter in the first place.  And its worth noting there are a far fewer vineyards in Surrey than there are in Kent and Sussex.

What makes a good wine is always a good debating point. If, for example, criteria such as endeavour and environment are important to you then Albury Organic Vineyard is worthy of credit, not least as it’s one of the very few biodynamic vineyards in the country. It just so happens that its wines are delicious as well.

We’ve tasted terrific wine from Surrey vineyards and would highly recommend tasting a few yourself. You, after all, are the best person to judge if a wine is good for you.





Vineyards in Kent in Vineyards of Great Britain author Ed Dalimore

Ed Dallimore selects

Wineries in Surrey

Marasby Photographer @59Vines Ed Dallimore is author of Vineyards of Britain.  It’s got rave reviews from some of the most famous critics in the business, including Jancis Robinson, and it’s well worth a read.

Here are Ed’s top picks of Surrey Vineyards

Albury Organic Vineyard
Chilworth Manor Vineyard
Denbies Wine Estate
Greyfriars Vineyard
Litmus Wines