Mini Vineyard tour at Harrow & Hope 13 July 2018

“It’s an ill wind... “ 

Friday 13th July and all the Triskadecaphobics had decided to stay in bed. Or so it seemed at about 9.30 am as I headed around the M25 and up the M40/A40 for a business meeting. Clearly they’d thought better of it by the afternoon and the motorway was packed. As I detoured down the A404 from High Wycombe a sign for Marlow stirred a distant memory... isn’t there a Vineyard around here somewhere? Pulled into a lay-by, fired up Google Maps and there it was, in my “want to visit“ list - Harrow and Hope.  And barely 3 miles away. Serendipitous or what?

So off I pootled, making a lousy job of following directions from the dulcet tones of Gladys Google but eventually being greeted by the loudest barking I’d heard in a long time. As I pulled up the source of this cacophony appeared. Was it a security dog? I risked opening the car door an inch or three. More barking, but of the enthusiastic kind. Eventually I realised that this was my guide, not my guard. Alfonse, a rescue dog from Bergerac, was just being friendly and ensuring I ended up in the right place.

I had first met the proprietor, Henry Laithwaite, at the WineGB show in April 2018. But I had been following his adventures on social media for quite a while. Henry must meet loads of people so I was both surprised and flattered to be remembered. Although busy he made time to stop for a chat before introducing his lovely wife, Kaye, for a mini-tour. 

Its an idyllic spot, quiet, peaceful (once Alfonse had quietened down) and the grapes were loving the long, hot summer days. Gaye announced that a recent brush fire had reached the edge of the Vineyard. I listen in horror - so close to being wiped out. Kudos to Buck and Berks Fire Services for bringing the blaze under control just in time.

Although sadly the Blanc de Blancs was sold out I signed up for pre-sale of the next vintage release and left with a couple of bottles of the Brut Reserve. Opened one the following day and it received rave reviews from my fellow English Sparkling-loving friends. I don’t think it will be long before I return for re-stocking. The unique terroir and Henry’s skill and dedication brings something really special to Harrow and Hope wines. I can highly recommend that you give them a try.

Tickets for the Vineyard tour and tasting are just £20. Tour dates are on the website, otherwise visiting is by appointment only - but well worth your time, especially if you love English Sparkling Wines and would like to try something a little different to the more conventional Surrey Hills / Kentish Weald / Sussex Downs producers.

Next tour and tasting dates:

Saturday 28th July 10:30-12:30 / Thursday 2nd August 19:00-21:00 See website for details 

Harrow & Hope Ltd
Marlow Winery
Pump Lane North
Marlow SL7 3RD

Website: harrowandhope,com

(0)162 8481 091

Twitter: @harrowandhope