Outside terrace table with two glasses of wine in Summer at Coworth Park, Ascot
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Celebrating English wine in Berkshire

April 26, 2022

We have the Romans to thank for introducing wine to Britain, and climate change for creating the right conditions to grow quality grapes in the country today. Here we delve into the local wine scene near Coworth Park.

The history of wine in Britain

Who knew Brits were cultivating vineyards 2,000 years ago? The Roman Empire spread viticulture across western Europe, including vineyards in Britain. While the Romans were known for their wine-fuelled soirées, it’s mainly thanks to climate change and improved viticultural practices over the last few decades that English and Welsh wines are now recognised on the world stage.

vineyard in ancient ruins of Pompeii
grapes in bucket at vineyard
Courtesy of MintImages

Today’s English wine scene

Corks will be popping across the UK this summer as the nation marks the 70th anniversary of HM The Queen taking to the throne. And what better way to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee than with a bottle of sparkling? Just as the French have Champagne, England has English sparkling wine, made in the same way and with the same grapes as France’s most famous region for bubbles. Milder temperatures, along with the same limestone terroir that runs through Champagne, have resulted in vineyards across Britain doubling to more than 800 since 2012.

Windsor Great Park Vineyard

King Henry II was fond of a tipple and it was during his reign in the 12th century that vineyards were first planted in Windsor. Windsor Great Park Vineyard, a 7.5-acre vineyard south of royal residence, Windsor Castle. In 2011, chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier were planted, capturing the best of the British sunshine on a south-facing slope, protected by oak trees. While the wine estate is not open to the public, its award-winning sparkling wine is enjoyed locally and across the world. 

Restaurant Coworth Park Windsor Great Park Sparkling wine
picking grapes off tree
Courtesy of Stanlake Park Wine Estate Harvest

Vineyards close to Coworth Park

With more than 60 vineyards close to Coworth Park, 20 are open to the public. Alder Ridge Vineyard, an hour’s drive from the hotel, hosts private tours and tastings. Vineyard guide Ollie Donovan says, “Join us to find out how important our chalky soils are for growing grapes and how they affect the flavours in the glass.” Combine this with a private tour of the 150-acre Stanlake Park Wine Estate and winery, 30 minutes from Coworth Park, where you can also discover Berkshire’s local produce, from wine to cheese and charcuterie at its farm shop. 

Alder Ridge Vineyard, Cobbs Farm, Bath Road, Hungerford, Berkshire RG17 0SP
Stanlake Park Wine Estate, Berkshire RG10 0BN

Supporting local winemakers

Coworth Park’s director of food and beverage, Jonathan Ellson, advocates English wine which, he says, “has come on leaps and bounds over the past decade. There is now a variety of wines of ever-increasing quality. At one time, if you wanted to drink English wines it had to be sparkling; now there are fantastic still wines too.”  The restaurant serves Nyetimber Blanc de Blancs from southern England, Bacchus from the urban winery, London Cru, and Still White by Hattingley in Hampshire. “We have also hosted dinners with English producers such as Nyetimber and Digby Fine English.”

Restaurant Coworth Park Restaurant Director Jonathan Ellson

Discover the secrets of wine pairing with our sommelier and find out more about Coworth Park’s food and drink scene.


Coworth Park

The scenic route to five-star bliss. Coworth Park offers idyllic relaxation in many guises, from a rural detox to an indulgent, romantic escape. Here you’ll find an experience to refresh every sense within our welcoming oasis of calm.

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