TdF Stage 1: The Tour de Yorkshire

Welcome to the Grand Départ of the 2014 Tour de France. We’ve been promising ourselves for years, every time we watch the Tour de France, that we would one day take the time to explore and learn about the regions the race passes through. This year we’re going to do it. There should be one post per day during the three-week Tour, and while we intend to focus on vineyards and wines, our heads are sometimes turned by other items of interest, so expect those as well. Whether you drink along (responsibly, of course), or just make note of something new to try, you can join us in celebrating our annual summer sporting obsession.

This year’s Tour begins in the north — WAY north, not in France but in Yorkshire. The Tour will spend two days in Yorkshire before moving south through Cambridgeshire and Essex to finish up stage three in London, and there will be plenty of English fans along the route cheering the cyclists on. If you’re going to watch the race along the route or join the parties at one of the public venues that will be airing coverage of the race on big screens across England, let us know! We’d love to hear how you got on. The official Tour de France website has more details about where to go to see the Tour during the English stages.

Obviously, as the cycling begins in Leeds, so should the wine-drinking. Leventhorpe Vineyard is Yorkshire’s oldest commercial vineyard and is actually within the Leeds city boundary. While Simon Burnton wryly referred to the terroir in the area as “muddy” in the Guardian in 2011, Leventhorpe’s wines have received considerable praise. The vineyard’s success is down to owner George Bowden’s canny choice of site: the microclimate of his five acres, on a south-facing slope in a river valley with good drainage and protection from frosts, produces quality wines year after year. Leventhorpe growns mainly Madeleine Angevine and Seyval Blanc for still and sparkling whites, along with Triomphe, Regent and Pinot Noir for its reds. Leventhorpe recently released its first rosé sparkling, called Salmon Blush, made from Seyval Blanc with additional Red Triomphe and Pinot Noir for colour.



Jancis Robinson has recommended Leventhorpe’s Madeleine Angevine, as have Oz Clarke and Decanter magazine. In 2013, Leventhorpe won a supreme gold medal in the Mercian Wine Challenge for its dry white Madeleine Angevine and a trophy for best grower and winemaker for George Bowden.


There’s no website for Leventhorpe, but you can meet George and walk through the Leventhorpe vineyard with wine writer Oz Clarke and motoring journalist James May in this clip from “Oz and James Drink to Britain” series.

Restaurants and hotels around Leeds, such as Dough Bistro and Swillington Organic Farm serve Leventhorpe wines; otherwise your best bet for getting your hands on a bottle is to contact Leventhorpe directly.

Leventhorpe Vineyard
Bullerthorpe Lane
West Yorkshire
LS26 8AF
0113 2889088

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s