My trip to Broadstairs, England was fantastic and we couldn’t have been luckier with the weather, school and good company too! I stayed in a beautiful English cottage with a peppy woman named Judy who was happy to open up bottles of red wine with dinner. This set the theme for our alternative wine-themed English trip.

As fate should have it, the English school was located in Kent, “England’s Garden” and home to many emerging wineries including award winning Chapel Down. It must be thanks to Kent’s sunnier climate and coastal influence. We got a tasting appointment at the nearby Barnsole Vineyards.

I can’t say we had the best experience, in fact, the wry and snide winemaker took every chance he could to belittle me. When I shook his hand he said this was all too formal. When I asked him if he had recently bought this property for the vineyard or if he had been here “forever” he responded with, “stupid girl”. Starting to feel uncomfortable, I kept my mouth shut and listened to his minimal explanations. When I asked whether or not both red and whites were aged/kept in these tanks, he snickered and answered that it was basic chemistry and all wines ferment. Duh. Stupid girl. So I decided to hold back my frustration, taste the wine and move on.

The first wine we tasted was a Dry Reserve Riesling, very light and easy to drink. The second was made from Huxelrebe (Muscat family), peachier and sweeter. The third was my favorite, a red reserve made from Rondo, Regent and a type of Pinot called Precose. I really enjoyed the one and only red for its elegance and subtlety. The whole time, my main man was drinking a cup of English coffee. I must admit that the stark setting of a garage/shed/workshop used as a tasting room was quite unique and gave it a lot of character.

Although Barnsole Vineyards put me off a bit, I did appreciate its genuine feel and of course the wines were surprisingly good! So far English wines get a thumbs up from me!