Seven premium vineyards located in the English county of Kent have collaborated with the area’s tourist board, Visit Kent, to launch ‘The Wine Garden of England’ project to champion and further develop the region’s diverse wine offering.

The wineries involved are Biddenden Vineyards, Chapel Down, Domaine Evremond, Gusbourne, Hush Health Estate, Simpsons Wine Estate and Squerryes.

The seven estates attract 120,000 visitors annually and hope that a combined approach will see further growth in tourist numbers.

President of Domaine Evremond owner Champagne Taittinger Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger said: “Kent is one of the warmest and driest counties of England, and we were delighted to find some beautiful land, on chalk, near Chilham.

“We were welcomed with open arms by the other producers in the region and I am delighted that we are joining forces with six of the top Kentish wineries in the spirit of friendship, to form the Wine Garden of England and work together proactively to promote the wonderful wines of the region.”

Visit Kent has created a website for the project which has information about the vineyards and suggested visitor itineraries for day and weekend trips to Kent. The aim is for consumers to be able to purchases the wineries’ products and book activities through the website.

Outgoing chief executive of Visit Kent Sandra Matthews-March said: “We are thrilled to be working with this pioneering group of wineries to develop Kent’s wine tourism offer.

“Together we will further establish the county as a stunning rural escape and England’s own Napa Valley, where visitors are invited to relax and explore, tasting a huge range of stunning English wines whilst learning the fascinating stories of these beautifully picturesque vineyards.”

In March, eight Sussex vineyards collaborated to form ‘Sussex wineries’ in order to promote regional wine tourism. The group is comprised of Albourne Estate, Bluebell Vineyard Estates, Bolney Wine Estate, Oxney Organic, Rathfinny Estate, Ridgeview, Stopham Vineyards and Wiston Estate.

The group has launched a website and plans to organise events to encourage visitors to learn more about the diverse wine offerings of the region.

Kent is the UK’s top producing vine county with an area of 343.91 hectares. West Sussex came second with 296.15 and East Sussex was fourth with 230.94.