Head down to rural East Sussex, UK for your chance to meet one of the UK's true eco-pioneers. Not only the first organic vineyard, but as of late 2010, Sedlescombe is home to the UK's first biodynamic vineyard. Having gained experience abroad, Roy and Irma Cook took the plunge in the late 1970s and established Sedlescombe. They now own 23 acres in a few plots including the original 10-acre south-facing plot by their friendly visitor centre and shop. Here you'll find many of the original Germanic grape varieties which began the English wine renaissance.
Designed so that the vineyards are in tune with the earth's rhythms, the biodynamic conversion was a lengthy but rewarding process, says Roy. 'At least we got to see every vine up close,' he chuckles. The first release was a Dry White, with a medium-dry and red in 2011 and the sparkling in 2012. If you're wondering when to visit, try May and don't miss the bluebells in the woodland walk. Whether you choose the self-guided tour or join up with a group, all visits end with a tutored tasting of a selection of Sedlescombe wines, fruit juices and liqueurs. Nearby there's the delights of Bodiam Castle for the young and those young at heart. Often used in films, the vineyards stretch down to its borders.