Food + Drink




Launch Midsummer 2019


Tickets available on Eventbrite

The Westgate Community Trust and Clive Barlow, Master of Wine based at The Goods Shed, are launching the Canterbury Wine Festival on Friday 21 June, with guest, Oz Clarke, one of the world’s leading wine experts (invitation only).

The Festival opens to the public on Saturday 22 June.  There will be two three-hour discovery sessions.  Numbers are limited.  Tickets and details available on Eventbrite.

Our vision is that the Festival will become an annual event highlighting English wine. For our launch we are showcasing our wonderful Kent wines.  Over 14 of Kent’s wine producers – from international wine businesses to family-run vineyards – will be with us in the heart of the City at Westgate Hall.

Kent’s wine-growing industry is growing exponentially and a UK leader. Two key reasons for this: Kent’s chalky soil and climate are now producing excellent grapes and vineyards are creating wines of a quality previously characteristic of France’s champagne region; the ingenuity and determination of our local wine creators.

We look forward to you joining us in celebrating their growing success and fostering and consolidating this good news story.

Why Canterbury and Westgate Hall?

As a World Heritage Site and major tourist destination, Canterbury is the natural location to celebrate Kent’s history of local wine production, dating back to the Romans, and is now on the cusp of an economic boom.  Canterbury also has outstanding transport links, whether by car, coach or train, to the Channel and the rest of the country.

Westgate Hall, Canterbury’s century-old award-winning former drill hall, is the ideal venue, given its history, size and location in the heart of city.

Why Clive Barlow?  Clive is one of 384 Masters of Wine in the world, a community supporter and friend of Westgate Hall.  An international judge and wine educator, he has worked as a consultant for Waitrose, Whitbread, Sotheby’s, and more. He is also Canterbury’s longest-running independent wine merchant. You can find his shop, Press Wine Services at The Good Shed, Canterbury’s award- winning independent farmers’ market and food hall.  You can meet Clive there and consult with him. He is great fun and with his knowledge and experience, the ideal teacher for wine enthusiasts!

Yet, while ever more people are talking about Kent wine, information about our wine industry, its growers and related skills and services, is currently scattered and sporadic. The Festival will give Kent’s wine industry an opportunity to educate and reach new audiences. It will help the sector transition from being relatively niche to having broad appeal. In addition to reaching the general public, the event will engage with hoteliers, shops, bars, restaurants and the wider hospitality industry.

The Canterbury Wine Festival will:

  • Connect the wine industry with a wider community
  • Boost tourism, both local and wine-related
  • Unify Kent wine producers under a local umbrella
  • Offer a promotional stage for wine producers without tourism facilities
  • Host workshops with Clive Barlow MW to widen the public’s understanding and appreciation
  • Facilitate B2B and B2C networking
  • Promote and strengthen ties with local and regional decision-makers and influencers

Why now?

  • 2018 was “a milestone year for the industry,” according to Simon Robinson, Chairman of WineGB.
  • A record-breaking 15.6 million bottles were produced, 130% higher than 2017 and far exceeding the previous 2014 record of 6.3m bottles.
  • Sales and exports of English and Welsh wines doubled.
  • Wine tourism is thriving, offering an experience once reserved for trips overseas.
  • Another two million vines will be planted this year, confirming the wine industry as one of the fastest-growing agricultural sectors in the UK.
  • A recent study found that another 70,000 acres of UK land have potential for wine production, providing great opportunities for expansion.
  • Industry predictions are that Great Britain will produce 40m bottles annually in the next 20 years.
  • As vineyard  numbers  grow,  so  do  their  workforce:  2000  people  are  currently employed in the industry, from vineyard workers to winemakers, admin support to cellar door staff.  Over the next 20 years, the industry will create some 30,000 new rural jobs, as well as giving a sizeable boost to the economy.

So please join us in celebrating, supporting and enjoying tasting Kent’s award-winning wines!

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