Yorkshire, an area in Northern England known for real ale and blustery moorland, is perhaps the last place you’d expect to find a flourishing wine industry. Yet “God’s Own Country,” as it’s known to locals, has a wine legacy that some believe dates back to the Romans—and one that’s recently found itself on the rise. In the last seven years alone, the number of Yorkshire vineyards has doubled, according to Ian Sargent, the chairman of Wine GB Midlands and North.
Today, like most English wine regions (which are typically found farther south), Yorkshire skews toward white and sparkling wines, because its cool climate suits chardonnay and hybrid grapes such as solaris and seyval blanc. “You can tell a Yorkshire wine,” Sargent says. “You can smell the ripeness, and the minerality comes through in buckets.” Looking to sample some of these wines in honor of Yorkshire Day (August 1)? You’ll likely need to stop by in person, as most are sold only locally. Wine GB Midlands and North is developing a wine trail, but until that takes shape, here are spots for three types of taster to visit.
FOR THE SHUTTERBUG
Rebecca and Ian Sheveling—formerly the only female engineer in Formula 1 and a onetime novelty toilet seat designer, respectively—repurposed a former sheep field in the inclement reaches of West Yorkshire into Holmfirth Vineyard. The property (pictured at left) now boasts a modern visitor center and luxury lodgings with spectacular views over the rolling Holme Valley hills that surround the stone wall–divided vineyards. Try the pale, dry, tongue-tingling Regent Rosé. holmfirthvineyard.com
FOR THE DIY ENTHUSIAST
If there’s a bigger draw at Nun Monkton’s Yorkshire Heart Vineyard than the exceptional sparkling wines, it’s the IWC Cellar Door Award–winning guided tour that co-owner Chris Spakouskas leads through the facilities, which produce both wine and beer. (Chris’s wife and co-owner, Gillian Spakouskas, is a fermentation fanatic.) Try the Mercian Vineyards gold medal–winning sparkling white (made with seyval blanc hybrids), which has overtones of white blossom and biscuit. yorkshireheart.com
FOR THE CONNOISSEUR
“It takes a while to establish a reputation for producing wines of good quality,” says George Bowden (below), the owner of Leeds’s Leventhorpe Vineyard. Bowden’s plot is just five acres and his winery resembles a garage, but his willingness to “let the wines speak for themselves” makes this an essential stop. Try his English and Welsh Wine of the Year gold medal–winning seyval or his delicate Madeleine Angevine white, which is dry with peachy notes and pairs with creamy fish dishes. leventhorpevineyard.co.uk