Anyone who visits Kent quickly understands why it’s been known as the Garden of England for over four centuries. The county’s rolling fertile hills and open landscapes are home to an abundance of fruit orchards and fresh produce, with apples, pears, cherries and hops flourishing in a unique micro-climate. Kent is one of the warmest and sunniest spots in Britain.

And, alongside the orchards and hops, another crop has also taken root: wine grapes. The first commercial vineyard in England was planted in 1952. Within a decade, experimentation to find which grape varieties and viticulture techniques could thrive in the English climate led to a flurry of vineyards being established, mainly in south coastal counties, including Kent. Today, industry body Wines of Great Britain reports nearly 180 wineries and a 70% increase in hectares under vine since 2017. 

It isn’t surprising. The underlying topography and soils of southern England are perfectly suited to vines. Indeed, 450,000 years ago the south of England and the north of France formed a continuous landmass, until glacial erosion and cataclysmic flooding created the English Channel.

Gusbourne’s home village of Appledore is situated on the edge of the High Weald, meaning that our corner of Kent has a particular advantage from the additional presence of sandy loam within nutrient-rich clay soils. These soils can retain more heat than chalk soils, which in turn helps us ripen fruit. Our commitment to using only estate-grown grapes in our wine makes every bottle we produce an authentic expression of time and place.

It’s also why we favour using local, seasonal produce in our picnics and special dining events. In-season Kentish strawberries, fruit preserves, fresh tomatoes and vegetables, potatoes and cheeses. Romney Marsh lamb and native fish and shellfish. Artisan bread and farmhouse butter. Even Kentish charcuterie. We’re big believers in ‘what grows together goes together’ and we’re delighted to invite visitors to discover the unique flavours of Kent alongside our award-winning range of vintage sparkling and still wines.

Visit Gusbourne Estate in Appledore, Kent. Just a 15-minute taxi journey from Ashford International Station, or 15 minutes from the beautiful nearby village of Rye. Our hosted tours include tutored wine tastings and lunch at our tasting room and cellar door, The Nest.


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