Bunting, pagodas and wine…I wouldn’t say that is a regular occurrence in the UK spending the late afternoon and evening at a winery, or maybe these secret vineyards have been hidden for too long. Having been lucky enough to have visited and reaped the benefits of vineyards in New Zealand and France, when our friends invited us to share a Saturday with them at Frithsden Vineyard we jumped up the chance. It maybe just a pocket of little ole England but the sun was shinning, the surroundings were beautiful, so where else would you want to be.
Frithsden Vineyard is tucked away way in the countryside just outside Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire. So hidden you could easily miss this perfect spot. Natalie and Simon both passionate about wine, have been running, nurturing and developing the vineyard since 2006 and in 2009 the vineyard shop opened, which sells not only the wine but a range of clothing too. So wine and clothes…….What is stopping you?
We arrived to a garden pagoda with hanging lanterns, bunting and a friendly atmosphere, hitting a BIG 10 on the favoured shabby chic charm, with the added little quirks of, vintage signs, chalk boards, basins, all things that you want to steal for your own garden. The main happenings took place in the Vineyard Farmhouse, a perfectly wooden constructed barn keeping all the old features from the original structure……….Perfect and simply decorated tables (which I intend to try and re create at my birthday next week, stay tuned) a perfect vintage victorian basin and tea cups to make Alice in Wonderland jealous….Oh and and then wine and lots of it!
….So now the obvious question, how on earth is wine produced successfully in our such cool and ever changeable weather? …..Here comes the science bit…..”The vines are unusual varieties that are specially developed to grow in our cooler climate. Our wine is grown, pressed and bottled in our winery building. We pick the grapes by hand in September and October. The wine is then bottled in March or April.” Exciting stuff!
We took our English wine, (very nice by the way) the first of many, to the garden and sat under the bunting in the sunshine, secretly pretty chuffed that we had stumbled over this little find…..(or should we say our friends find) before building up an appetite for dinner.
One of Frithsden’s Foodie nights was taking place in the Vineyard Farmhouse, we tucked into a Moroccan feast of olives, breads and dips, with baked vegetables, salads, lamb parcels, chicken tagine and couscous all served on the most perfect vintage china. We finished the meal with a Watermelon sorbet with rosewater and mint…..and of course more wine. Lovely! So much effort and detail was put into this warm and inviting meal, lots of chat, lots of laughter and lots of wine, a pretty perfect summer evening in this little pocket of the county.
…..So we may not all be able to spend a year in Provence but we can all afford to all loose a few hours at Frithsden Vineyard.
Frithsden Vineyards offer tours of the winery, foodie evenings, birthday parties, or you can just pop up for afternoon tea and a sneaky glass of wine. It is located just outside Berkhamsed and a short taxi ride from the train station. http://www.frithsdenvineyard.co.uk/