Fancy a Local Bedfordshire Tipple Approved by Royalty!

Warden Abbey

We have come to expect vineyards in the south and south west of England but did you know that there is a vineyard in Bedfordshire? According to records, Warden Abbey was a Cistercian Monastery founded in 1136 and the monks were likely to have planted and tended vineyards in its grounds at that time. The modern vineyard was planted back in 1986 and it has produced award winning wines. Funds have been raised to plant new vines in 2015.

We are fortunate to have this local vineyard in the heart of Bedfordshire, located in the countryside not far from Shefford and the village of Old Warden. It is now a cooperative, run by volunteers, and If I wasn’t so busy writing, I’d love to get involved over at Warden Abbey Vineyard.

Warden Abbey wines can be bought locally. I’ve recently seen it in the Ampthill wine shop, The Shuttleworth shop and Jordan’s Mill. Here’s a link to their Christmas newsletter.

In September Warden Abbey have an open day when you can enjoy a guided tour and taste their wines. I’ll tweet when that is going to be nearer the time.

I first came across its sparkling wines back in 2001 and was informed that the wine was endorsed by the Queen Mother and drank at one of her royal occasions. Can anyone verify that for me? Rumour has it that last year’s grape harvest in 2014 was so good that there may be a sparkling wine this year. I do hope so!

When I was planning my Bedfordshire murder mystery, ‘Murder, now and then’ I was enthusiastic to mention Warden Abbey wines but I promise that they had no link to the method used for murder, they were just enjoyed by one of the characters!

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5 Comments

Filed under Bedfordshire, Murder Now and Then, Virtual Tour of Bedfordshire

5 responses to “Fancy a Local Bedfordshire Tipple Approved by Royalty!

  1. Jane from Warden Vineyard sent me this lovely reply in an email and I’m sure other readers will be interested in the history and the links with royalty. She leaves a contact email if anyone would like to get in touch.
    Many thanks Jane
    “Lovely to read your article Diana. I’ve been delving into the royal connection you asked about – its been a nice diversion from pruning in the vineyard! Warden Abbey wines have certainly been served in all the right places over their long history. During the 1990s they were ordered by Government Hospitality for their cellars under Lancaster House in London and wines from these cellars are used for the Foreign Office & 10 Downing Street. In 1996/97, the Lord Mayor of London selected a Warden wine to be served at the Mansion House. In November 1996, Warden Abbot 1992 was served at the lunch for The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh given by the Mayor of Bedford during the royal couple’s visit to the town. Exactly a year later Warden Abbot 1994 was chosen by the Prime Minister for the lunch at the Banqueting House, Whitehall, in celebration of the Golden Wedding of the Queen & Duke of Edinburgh on 20th November 1997.

    As you say in your blog, the vineyard is now run as a community enterprise by Bedfordshire Rural Communities Charity, and the vineyard is looked after by volunteers. If any of your readers are interested in getting involved, they can find out more at http://www.wardenvineyard.org.uk

  2. best of luck with your new book, very impressive!

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