Denbies' Christopher White on his perfect Surrey weekend
The general manager of Denbies Wine Estate in Dorking, Christopher White, 32, lives on the estate with his wife Jo and baby son Robin, so admits there's a tendency to drop in at weekends. However, he also finds plenty of other things to keep him o...
Originally published in Surrey Life magazine January 2009The general manager of Denbies Wine Estate in Dorking, Christopher White, 32, lives on the estate with his wife Jo and baby son Robin, so admits there's a tendency to drop in at weekends. However, he also finds plenty of other things to keep him occupied, too
Denbies has been a major part of my life, as I grew up on the estate after my parents moved here in 1984. I recall, as a teenager, the developing years of the vineyard. As a family, we visited other wine estates all over the world: France, Napa, Germany, South Africa... My background has given me a good understanding of viticulture and it has been an amazing experience to watch the development of the vineyard and visitor centre over the years. The diversification of the estate has always been its strength, particularly during times such as these. Relaxing at homeAfter spending time away at school, university and running my first business, I returned to Denbies as general manager in 2002. I now live on the estate with my wife and one-year old son, and I feel comfortable knowing that my son will grow up in this beautiful area and in the environs of the family business. At the weekend, although I do have a tendency to drop in to Denbies to make sure that all is in order, the main part of the enjoyment is that there is no set pattern. A normal weekend will involve assisting with the household chores, shopping in Dorking and cooking meals. I rather enjoy experimenting with different ingredients and it gives my wife a break and, I hope, a treat! Life has changed radically since the arrival of our son and I do enjoy having the opportunity to get more involved. My family all live locally so we spend a lot of time meeting up for various events. Sunday lunchtime is often a favourite time for us all to get together. We recently celebrated my son's first birthday by holding a party at home with an 'In the Night Garden' theme, lots of food and ten one-year-olds having a splendid time! When it's just the grown-ups, naturally we often enjoy a tipple from Denbies! My own particular favourite is our Surrey Gold and for special occasions a glass of Greenfields sparkling cuv�e! Eating out in Surrey Quiet times involve watching DVDs and having meals in local restaurants. My favourite restaurant is the Thai Terrace in Guildford. The food is excellent and the views over Guildford are quite stunning - a complete contrast to the rural views from Denbies' third floor Gallery Restaurant.When the opportunity presents itself, we do enjoy going away for a weekend break. Recently, we went to The Grove Hotel in Hertfordshire, which was an absolute delight. The service was exceptional and it really catered for all our needs. I would strongly recommend it as an ideal place for people with young children like ourselves. Over the years, I have been very fortunate to travel the world, but having said that, nothing beats the sights and views over the spectacular Surrey Hills!
Denbies Wine Estate, London Road, Dorking, Surrey RH5 6AA. Tel: 01306 876616