10 of the best Surrey drinks producers
- Credit: Archant
Surrey’s food and drink producers are thriving, with vineyards, breweries and distilleries in particular building a growing collection of international awards. Here’s a few for your drinks cabinets
DENBIES WINE ESTATE
Celebrating its 30th anniversary (read on for more on that), Denbies vineyard was planted in Dorking in 1986 and since then has become one of the largest wine producers in the UK. Their Cubitt Reserve is an excellent example of cool climate sparkling wine and, currently, they remain England’s largest single estate vineyard with 265-acres of vines.
London Road, Dorking RH5 6AA
Tel: 01306 876616 Web: denbies.co.uk
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A biodynamic (organic plus) vineyard planted in 2009 and 2010, Albury has 21,000 vines on five hectares of land – preparations for said vines include pruning by the phases of the moon and stuffing cow manure into cow horns, burying those horns over winter, then stirring a small amount of the fermented manure in rain water and spraying it over the vineyard. Seriously. Their very first wine, Silent Pool Rosé 2011, was chosen to be served on the Royal Barge as part of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations along the River Thames.
Shere Road, Albury GU5 9BW
Tel: 07768 863650 Web: alburyvineyard.com
The Hog’s Back
The half-hectare original vineyard at Greyfriars was planted in the late 1980s, but its ambitions have risen remarkably since. As well as some fantastic sparkling wines, they are expanding their on-site offering with a new cellar door shop (largely still opening via appointment).
The Hog’s Back, Puttenham GU3 1AG
Tel: 01483 813712 Web: greyfriarsvineyard.co.uk
HIGH CLANDON ESTATE VINEYARD
The launch parties at High Clandon are legendary, featuring a ‘sabreur’ (a dramatic slicing off of the cork with a sword) and sculpture exhibition in stunning grounds (the views stretch to London). Owned by the irrepressible Sibylla and Bruce Tindale, they are making a top end rival to Champagne despite their as-boutique-as-it-gets size.
Clandon Downs, High Clandon GU4 7RP
Tel: 01483 225660 Web: highclandon.co.uk
HOGS BACK BREWERY
Founded in 1992, Hogs Back Brewery’s first brew was their Traditional English Ale (TEA), which remains its flagship ale. Hogs Back quickly gained a reputation for brewing a range of outstanding cask ales, such as HOP and Ripsnorter, and bottled beers, such as OTT and A over T. In 2014, they planted their own hop field next to the brewery in Tongham.
The Street, Tongham GU10 1DE
Tel: 01252 784495 Web: hogsback.co.uk
SURREY HILLS BREWERY
Now based at Denbies Wine Estate (with their original brewery providing a home to Tillingbourne Brewery), Surrey Hills Brewery produces some of our county’s best-loved beers, with 95% of them consumed within a 15-mile radius.
Denbies Wine Estate, Dorking RH5 6AA.
Tel: 01306 883603. Web: surreyhills.co.uk
In the process of moving their microbrewery a few metres, from an old dairy to a restored bull pen, Frensham Brewery are also set to open a brewery tap room next door this summer. From their first beer, Forager, to limited editions brewed for others, such as Soul Of The Shoes with The Three Horseshoes pub in Thursley, they’ve proved a hugely popular addition.
Pierrepont Home Farm, The Reeds, Frensham GU10 3BS
Tel: 01252 793956 Web: frenshambrewery.co.uk
Originally formed by three friends passionate about real ale, Dorking Brewery is now under the ownership of a former Navy reservist who served as part of a task force rescuing migrants from the Mediterranean. Having gained a reputation for producing great tasting beers, expect a few tweaks rather than a large-scale overhaul. The Engine Shed, Station Road, Dorking RH4 1HF
Tel: 01306 877988 Web: dorkingbrewery.com
SILENT POOL DISTILLERS
Powered by the waters of Surrey beauty spot, Silent Pool, and hardwood from the woods of Albury, Silent Pool Gin has already gone international in its short lifetime. It’s been a meteoric rise for the distillery, which only produced its first bottles at the end of 2014. They’d expected to sell 4,500 bottles of their flagship gin in the first year, but in the end they beat that tenfold and are set to pass the 90,000 bottle mark this year! More about that, here.
Albury GU5 9BW
Tel: 01483 229136 Web: silentpooldistillers.com
THE GARDEN CIDER COMPANY
Created in 2010, by Ben and Will Filby, The Garden Cider Company makes a range of hand crafted ciders from entirely local, donated garden apples. Over 4,000 households take part, sharing their spare fruit, and in return they receive a share of the cider made back for free.
Mill House Farm, Petworth Road, Chiddingfold GU8 4SL
Tel: 01428 645191 Web: thegardencidercompany.co.uk