Celebrating the Wine Garden of England

Rochester Cathedral hosted the Wine Garden of England’s inaugural festival on the 16th/17th November.  Rochester Cathedral was chosen as the location for this festival due to its long association with English winemaking which goes back over 1000 years.  Bishop Gundulf, who served as Bishop of Rochester until his death in 1108, started growing grapes in the Norman monastery at the Cathedral. It is believed Rochester was the first Norman monastery in England to start producing wine on a large scale.  On the anniversary of his death the monks held a wine festival in his honour,

The Wine Garden of England is a partnership between seven wineries in Kent – Biddenden Vineyards, Chapel Down, Domaine Evremond, Gusborne, Hush Heath Estate, Simpsons Wine Estate and Squerryes.  To launch the partnership, winemakers, key industry figures and supporters were invited to attend Evensong where the Dean of Rochester blessed the wine harvest.  They were then treated to a special dinner in the Crypt with guest speakers including Joe Fattorini, presenter of Channel 5’s The Wine Show, and Deirdre Wells OBE, CEO of Visit Kent.

On Saturday, public wine tastings took place in the Crypt with guests able to taste a wide variety of Kentish Wines.  Each of the Vineyards were represented making it a wonderful opportunity for attendees to find out more about wine growing in Kent. 

Photo Credit - Visit Kent and Manu Palomeque