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Carr Taylor Vineyards and Winery
by
K.L. Sullivan

Carr Taylor vineyards and wineryOnce we were on the proper road the winery was easy to find. A brown sign with a grape graphic and arrow was easy to see and so we arrived at Carr Taylor Vineyards and Winery easily. A larger sign marked the driveway to the vineyards and winery.

Across from the tasting room and gift shop is a garden with an artificial pond and several picnic tables. The area may be reached by several cement steps or across a lawn. On a warm summer day this would be a perfect place to enjoy a glass of wine. Located on the other side of the garden area are vineyards. Vineyards are also located on two other sides of the winery.

While we were visiting Carr Taylor Vineyards, a bus tour group arrived. The group enjoyed coffee, tea or cake for one pound a selection. Some chose to browse in the gift shop and others enjoyed the weather and the atmosphere at the outside picnic tables. Some of the group went on a tour of the winery.

Alex Carr Taylor welcomed us to Carr Taylor Vineyards and Winery and we enjoyed the tour and the intriguing discussion we had with him. Learning the dynamics of the Carr Taylor Vineyards was as fascinating as the discussion of the growth of wine in England. Here at Carr Taylor the original farm buildings were successfully converted into buildings for winemaking and a tasting room. We also discussed the difference between British wine and English wine. Carr Taylor Vineyards grows and produces still wine and sparkling wine. These wines are English wines.

Carr taylor vineyardsLinda and David Carr Taylor began growing grapes as an experiment in 1971, and by 1973-74, the experiment became commercial with the planting of more grapes. The buildings functioning as a winery and tasting rooms were old farm buildings used as a stable and barn. In 1971 Alex’s parents converted the old farm buildings. Stables were converted into the winery. A granary was made into the tasting room and gift shop. By 1999 the winery had won a coveted international award for the best sparkling wine - Carr Taylor "Vintage." Better yet the judging was done with a number of countries involved and French judges had been part of the panel.

 

 

Carr Taylor grapevine trellisCurrently Carr Taylor Vineyards owns 21 acres and manages 36 acres. They concentrate on growing white grapes with a few Pinot Noir grapes for red wines. This vineyard uses the Geneva double curtain trellising system. This system is used for grapes that have a dense canopy. The cordons are usually 1.5 meters above the ground and are trained to run along two supporting wires about 1.3 meters apart. The result is a canopy that is in two sections. This helps to give the grapes more exposure to light.

 

 

wine tank at Carr TaylorAccording to Alex the winery has been influenced by German winemakers during the late 1960’s and early 1970’s who helped the English winemakers. Therefore a number of the grape varietals grown in the vineyard are also popular in Germany. Among the many varietals grown are Reichensteiner, Schonburger, Kerner, Huxelrebe, Muller- Thurgau (v), Gutenborner, Wurzer, Bacchus, Ortega, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay. However, Reichensteiner and Schonburger are the main grapes grown at Carr Taylor Vineyards. Much of the equipment in the winery was manufactured in Germany.

 

sparkling wines at Carr TaylorWe tasted several of the Carr Taylor wines. The Bacchus has a floral bouquet and nice fruit taste with a short aftertaste. The 1066 is a blend of German whites, with a slight floral bouquet and a fruit taste with a longer foretaste. It is meant to reflect this area and the Battle of Hastings 1066. The Carr Taylor Brut is Reichensteiner and Schonburger with good flavors and slight aroma.

 

Sparkling wine is made using the traditional method. Using the traditional method helps to connect the winery to history. Carr Taylor began making sparkling wine in the mid 1980’s.

 

 

tasting room at Carr TaylorThe tasting room provides an interesting place to taste wines, purchase a cup of tea or coffee and a piece of cake. A variety of unique items are available including jams, lovely original cards, tea towels etc. In addition the wines are reasonably priced. The tasting room gives one a sense of comfort and friendliness.

After our lovely visit at the winery we returned to Brighton and decided to have dinner at a nearby restaurant. A wine menu was provided which included wines from Italy, French and Germany. With a number of wineries available in England, I wondered why there wasn’t at least one English wine available. English wines deserve to be recognized and available at home and abroad.

Carr Taylor Vineyards and Winery
Wheel Lane, Westfield, Hastings, East Sussex, TN35 4SG
Telephone: 01424 752501

 


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