Did you know that there are not one, but eight vineyards in Dorset? The county’s fertile soil is largely made up of clay, chalk and flint, much like the Champagne region of France, so it’s no surprise that the region is producing some seriously top-quality English sparkling wines.
Whether you’re a connoisseur, or simply an enthusiastic fan (like me), a vineyard tour and tasting is a great way to try something a little different as you explore Dorset. Eating and drinking local products is always a great way to get to know a region, and support local businesses at the same time. Most of the places on this list offer vineyard tours and tastings, while some even have unique accommodation offerings. So be sure to schedule a visit on your next trip to the area!
COVID-19: due to the current pandemic these Dorset vineyards are temporarily closed for visits. However, most are still offering an online ordering service. So you can sip your way around Dorset from the comfort and safety of your own home! Please do consider supporting these local businesses through this difficult time.
Map of Dorset Vineyards
8 Dorset Vineyards to Discover
1. Furleigh Estate, Bridport
A sprawling, 85-acre estate set within idyllic countryside just outside of Bridport, Furleigh Estate is one of the largest vineyards in Dorset. Of the 22,000 vines growing on the estate’s south-facing slopes, 15,000 are the classic Champagne grapes of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. These are used to produce Furleigh’s award-winning sparkling wines. Bacchus and Rondo are also grown to produce fine still wines.
Just a few miles from Dorset’s Jurassic Coast, Furleigh Estate say it’s the fossil-rich coastal soil that helps to grow their world-class still and sparkling wines. You can find them at many of the county’s best restaurants, as well as at pop-up stalls at many local food festivals.
Tours and Tastings: Vineyard tours start from £12.50 and run on Fridays and Saturdays throughout the year, as well as Wednesdays and some Thursdays during the summer.
Address: Furleigh Farm, Salway Ash DT6 5JF
2. Langham Wine Estate, Dorchester
Langham Wine Estate lies near Puddletown, just outside of Dorchester. Here, a unique microclimate and chalk soils combine to create the perfect setting for growing the classic Champagne grape varieties – so the estate focuses exclusively on growing these. No surprises, then, that their exquisite sparkling wines have won numerous awards both nationally and internationally.
The winemakers pride themselves in crafting terroir-driven sparkling wines using only their own grapes, and following the Traditional Method to produce the sparkle. As well as tours and tastings, you can also visit the on-site Vineyard Cafe for a bite to eat or a decadent afternoon tea.
Tours and Tastings: Self-guided tours cost £7.50 and include three tastings, while guided tours take place on Saturdays at 10:30am and cost £15. These tours take around two hours and also include a tasting of three wines. Private tours can also be arranged.
Address: The Tasting Room, Crawthorne Farm, Crawthorne, Dorchester DT2 7NG
3. English Oak Vineyard, Poole
Over in Lychett Matravers, just outside of Poole, lies the English Oak Vineyard; a 23-acre family-run boutique vineyard set within the tranquil Dorset countryside. Again, this winery follows the Traditional Method, with a passionate commitment to low-volume, high-quality wine production with minimal intervention.
The resulting collection of sparkling wines is exceptional. And the vineyard itself is particularly beautiful, with a picturesque 17th-century farmhouse and 23,000 vines surrounded by the majestic oaks which inspired the winery’s name. As well as tours, the vineyard can also be hired for functions and weddings. It’s hard to imagine a more romantic setting for an event!
Tours and Tastings: Public tours cost £20, including a tasting, and run on Fridays and Saturdays between June-September. Private tours can also be arranged, as well as a romantic Vineyard Picnic (£75pp) for something a bit special.
Address: Flowers Drove, Lytchett Matravers, Poole BH16 6BX
4. Bride Valley Vineyard, Bridport
Bride Valley Vineyard lies in the heart of the Dorset AONB, almost halfway between Weymouth and Bridport. Founded by husband-and-wife team Arabella and Steven Spurrier on the family’s Dorset sheep farm, Bride Valley was an almost immediate success story. The first vintage sold out on its release in 2014.
Not all that surprising, when you consider that Steven Spurrier is a celebrated critic and world-class wine expert. He was the man behind the legendary Judgement of Paris, and has had a huge influence on the world of wine. With around 25-acres of vines in a stunning setting, Bride Valley produces three excellent English sparkling wines. Definitely a vineyard worth visiting on your next trip to Dorset.
Tours and Tastings: A classic tour and tasting costs £12.50 and takes place on Wednesdays and Fridays throughout the summer. Alternatively, the Exclusive Tour and Tasting (minimum of 4 people) hosted by the Spurriers themselves, so it’s a great chance to press Steven for his expertise.
Address: Stable Cottage, Court House DT2 9AW
5. Sherborne Castle Wines, Sherborne
Although the English sparkling wine movement is fairly young, there’s at least one vineyard in Dorset that can boast a much longer history. Wine has been made at Sherborne Castle in the north of the county since the Middle Ages. Bishop Roger, who built the Old Castle, also planted a vineyard on the northern side of the lake in the 12th century.
In 1982, John Wingfield Digby revived the tradition by planting vineyards at Wake Court in Bishops Caundle. Today, Sherborne Castle Wines produces several sparkling and still varieties which appear on the menu of many local pubs and restaurants.
Tours and Tastings: No tours are available as it’s a private vineyard. But you can visit the castle and purchase wine in the gift shop, or at the on-site restaurant and tearooms.
Address: Sherborne Castle, New Road, Sherborne, Dorset DT9 5NR
6. Melbury Vale Winery, Shaftesbury
Situated in Stirkel Valley on the edge of the Cranborne Chase AONB, Melbury Vale Winery is surrounded by gorgeous countryside. This 28-acre vineyard is a small rural business owned by brother and sister team Glynn and Clare. They bought the derelict and dilapidated farmland and buildings of Barfoot Farm in 2003 and spent years lovingly restoring and converting the buildings.
The on-site winery is particularly impressive due to its various sustainable design features. It’s built into the hillside itself, has a flower meadow roof, and harvests rainwater. Melbury Vale Winery produces both sparkling and still wines, as well as artisanal cider and a variety of liqueurs and infusions. They also offer glamping in three fabulous timber barrel pods, which are nestled on the hillside below the vineyard with exceptional views. Perfect if you’re looking for a unique place to stay in Dorset.
Tours and Tastings: Tours are held on Fridays and Saturdays at 10:30am. They cost £27.50 and include a wine tasting and lunch.
Address: Foot’s Hill, Cann, Shaftesbury, SP7 0BW
7. Little Waddon Vineyard, Weymouth
Formerly known as Portesham Vineyard, Little Waddon Vineyard lies right on the Jurassic Coast, just outside of Weymouth. It’s a family-run boutique vineyard focusing on artisanal small batch wine made using Phoenix, Seyval and Regent grapes. Little Waddon say it’s the fresh sea air and coastal location that give their wines their “light and crisp flavour that echoes a Dorset summer”.
Little Waddon also offer the chance to stay on a vineyard. So although you can’t take a tour (yet), you can still visit this picturesque vineyard. They also host regular events, and often pop up at food festivals. Contact the vineyard directly for more info about stays and events.
Tours and Tastings: No tours available, but the vineyard offer year-round tailored events.
Address: Winter’s Lane, Waddon, Weymouth, DT3 4ER
8. D’Urberville Vineyard, Dorchester
D’Urberville Vineyard is Dorset’s newest English sparkling wine producer. It’s also one of the smallest on this list. Even so, they already have two silver medals to boast about!
Founded by Colin Hawkins on an old Poundbury farm, the vineyard takes its name from a family connection with the famous Dorset author Thomas Hardy, who wrote Tess of the D’Urbervilles. The 5-acre, south-facing vineyards contain 5,000 vines, mostly made up of Champagne grape varieties. D’Urberville Vineyard focuses on small-scale, traditional production, with each vine tended to by hand.
Tours and Tastings: No tours available yet, but D’Urberville Vineyard plan to offer them soon.
Address: Bradford Peverell, Dorcheser, DT2 9SJ
Are there any Dorset vineyards missing from this round up? Scroll down to leave a comment if you think I need to add one!