Denbies Wine Estate Dorking
Denbies is a wine estate or perhaps better termed, vineyard in Dorking, surrey established in 1986.The vineyards of Denbies Estate are situated on the North Downs with its famous chalky soil, in a protected valley of south facing slopes. In size it is the largest in the UK with 627 acres of land of which 265 acres have been planted representing more than 10 per cent of the plantings in the whole of the United Kingdom. This makes it three times the size of any other in the UK and the largest independent vineyard in Europe. Around 65% of the wine is sold at the visitor centre. From a good harvest around 400,000 bottles can be produced of different types from the 18 varieties of grape grown. The main grapes grown include : seyval blanc, reichensteiner, Muller-Thurgau, Bacchus, Ortega, Chardonnay, Pinot noir and Dornfelder.
Denbies run tours of the vineyards using a small “train” that takes around 50 people each trip for 50 minutes. Trips cost £6 for adults and £4 for children and there is also the option to have a glass of the sparkling wine for an extra £4.50.
There used to be a house on the property that was requestioned by the Canadian military in world war 2. When they left they took their tanks with them except three were non-functioning and were pushed down a hill and buried. To date only one has been excavated and the other two remain buried in the fields and are marked there by two tall trees. There is a possibility that further excavations of at least one tank may be considered in the next year or two.In September 1940 the Canadian West Nova Scotia Regiment was camped at Upper Common, Netley Heath, West Horsley, on the North Downs
where a Bf110 crashed after bing shot down (4th Sept.).
The Greenfields sparkling wine is bottled for Sainsbury’s under their label. This is a mixture of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The 2014 crop was bottled in May 2015 and will get laid down for 2-4 years aging.
In 2013 there were 470 vineyards in UK and the commonest types of grape grown were
- Chardonnay 21%
- Pinot Noir 19%
- Bacchus 9%