Well after 250miles and 6 hours of driving we finally made it to Allison's future in-laws. It was a long day.
We began our day at 6:45am (way too early for vacation) finishing getting all of our stuff together as today was our last day at the cottage. We finally had the car loaded and the cottage clean by 9:00am and headed out the driveway one last time.
After 2 1/2 hours we made it to our first destination, New Hall Vineyard. It seems that instead of calling them wineries in the UK they are in fact called vineyards. The place looked a little run down and we couldn't find the entrance, but we had read a sign that said you should knock on the door if you were interested in purchasing. The outside of the house was a bit under construction and it looked kind of derilict, but we knocked anyway. We were met at the door by the husband and wife who told us tasting was around the corner of the house and in the basement...
We headed around and down the steps and it was a bit creepy, but we kept going anyway. The man opened the door and let us in to the dungeon... I mean the basement (sorry about that). It was a bit dark and a bit interesting and kind of awkward at first, but he poured us each a small, but rather full glass of wine and we sampled. Eventually, after some conversation things eased up a bit and we had a good conversation and I purchased a few bottles of wine. He even gave me a map of the vineyards around the UK and a book about all the vineyards in the UK and Ireland that I had hoped to buy. After I had paid he offered to show us around the winery which was in a barn out back and he was very friendly. The place certainly did not have a lot of "show" and presentation was apparently not really important but I (we) had a good time.
After New Hall Wines we headed off to Carters Vineyards. It took us about another hour or so to get there, despite an e-mail from them telling me they were not open. Their website had said they were not open for tastings, but were in fact open for sales and I decided to risk it anyway. I had responded to the email inquiring about this but was unable to check for a response this morning. Unfortunately they were in fact not open (or at least it seemed that way) and we headed off as quickly as we arrived.
After that stop we headed for our final winery, Chilford Wines where we had tried to stop the other day when we found it closed. We stopped for lunch along the way at a local pub and I finally tried a beer/ale but I still didn't like it. They were out of cider though.
We made it to Chilford Wines at 3:40 just 20 minutes before their reported closure only to find the wine store listed as closed again! This time we went up to the office (as this place is more than a winery) and asked and a lady said she could let us into the wine store. We went, and it looked as though not a soul had been in there in weeks (as indeed was the case). Unfortunately the lady who had offered to help us knew NOTHING about wine and confessed to not even drinking wine. We couldn't even taste the wine because if she opened a bottle it would stay open for a long time as not many were stopping in. I was disappointed I had not purchased more at New Hall Vineyards, but begrudgingly bought some wine there and Amanda and I headed off back to Allison's future in-laws.
Tomorrow morning we have an early start and then end up in Frankfurt by evening. We are quite tired of sleeping in other beds and very much look forward to going home to our own bed...Good Night.