The Mount Vineyard, situated in the commuter village of Shoreham, has been on my radar now for the past year or so. I harvested grapes with them last Autumn which was truly a “good for the soul” experience and in summer went to the rather expensive and lets-face-it very middle class food and music festival which had an incredible selection of food and drink stands and distinctly average music! Suited me ok though, I was there for the halloumi fries and Thai-style rolled ice cream.
For this visit however, I was there with a group of friends to attend their #WineWednesdays – an evening event they hold on, yes you’ve guessed it, Wednesdays throughout the summer months. At £35 a head – you get a tour of the vines, wine tasting and nibbles. Despite the rain throughout the day, we were all surprised to see how well attended the event was – there was plenty of groups like ourselves and lots of couples.
The evening started with a glass of their sparkling Rose as we all followed our host for the evening to one of the field of vines. as we stood in the dusk light we heard all about the process of making wine and the growing of grapes. I love hearing about the process of making English wine and how the changes in climate mean that it is becoming easier to produce – the one benefit of global warming?
What was also interesting was hearing about plans for the Mount Vineyard and my do they have plans galore. It’s exciting to hear and I love their enthusiasm and passion for what they are trying to achieve in their corner of Kent. It takes balls of steel to take on vineyards in this country and costs so much money so for them to seemingly still take so much joy in what they are doing is incredibly encouraging.
After a short walk through the vines it was back to their very impressive looking courtyard tasting room where lines of tables were set up so we could all sit together for the tasting. Starting with a sparkling white wine from nearby Meopham it was followed by three reds, one of which was chilled. Great for me as red wine if my favourite but some of the members of the group were not so keen – although they were given another sparkling white as an alternative which was much appreciated.
There was no fancy teaching you how to taste wine between you lips etc that you get at some wine tastings, and they were generous with their pouring – I appreciated this as I think they understand that the majority of people attending this event are doing so as much for the social aspect as well as the wine. Private tastings can be booked if you were more inclined to go in-depth with their products.
Right let’s get onto the food! We were served platters of cheese, meats, chutney and crackers. Highlights were the soft cheese and the jar of homemade pickled leeks and cabbage – really delicious. I personally feel they could elevate the platters with perhaps some fresh bread (their pizza oven would make this a pretty easy task – pizza base with rosemary and garlic oil would be perfect) and I definitely think the board lacked a really good, strong, crunchy mature cheddar , but they are catering for the many not the few. I think we should also remember that they are just providing nibbles not a full meal so eat something before you go – ‘rookie error’ was that we didn’t!
All in all a really rather enjoyable way to spend a Wednesday evening and I highly recommend a visit – I think next time we go, I’ll just go on a Saturday or Sunday so I can try their pizzas, I hear they are pretty tasty!
The Mount Vineyard, Shoreham TN14 7SD