Vineyards of Norfolk to visit for Bacchus and more…
Mentioning to a passing acquaintance that you were thinking of touring the vineyards of Norfolk might lead to a sceptically raised eyebrow. For those in the know, however, the climate of East Anglia produces some of the most delicious wines, especially still whites.
Four of the vineyards of this northern part of East Anglia welcome visitors. Just the names of the Norfolk villages in which vineyards nestle tickle the imagination and make you want to visit and see what’s there – Surlingham, Burgh Apton, Earsham and Mulbarton.
Winbirri is now an established name in the international scene with hands-on owner, vineyard manager and winemaker Lee Dyer winning the Decanter Platinum – Best in Show: Best Value White Single-Varietal for his 2015 Bacchus. Quite a mouthful, but what it means is that this is a world-class wine and stonking wine for the money! The 2016 has already been pronounced even better by wine expert Matthew Jukes. While best known for his bacchus, there’s a variety of other wines produced, including red and sparkling. Less than 10 miles to the east of Norwich and just south of the River Yare, the vineyard is currently only open for group tours, so we’d suggest finding some friends!
Only a few miles south of Winbirri (just the other side of the A146) at Bergh Apton is new vineyard on the scene, Chet & Waveney. Here, owners John and Bridget are also hands-on and are delighted to have just released their first fizz, Horatio. John comes from a farming background in the local area and Bridget is an eye surgeon. Visitors are welcome by appointment on Wednesdays and Saturdays to a 2 hour tour that includes the vineyard and on site winery. Currently priced at just £12 and including tasting of 6 wines and local cheese and charcuterie, this looks to be great value.
Another newcomer is Flint Vineyard, a very modern addition. Like Lee at Winbirri, owners Ben and Hannah are rapidly becoming masters of the Bacchus grape. After touring the world learning about wine, and Ben studying at Plumpton College, they identified this land at Earsham in Norfolk. They also offer tours year round on Saturdays and some Wednesdays. If you have friends or relatives in the area, their Venn Club looks a great way to get involved.
Finally, head west to Mulbarton and Paddock Farm Shop, which is the cellar door for Humbleyard, the vineyard being part of the same farm. If you’d like to see the vines, then pick up a map in the shop (open Monday to Saturday) and you are welcome to follow the vineyard trail.
All in all, 4 great reasons to visit the vineyards of Norfolk. Most of these vineyards welcome help at harvest too, if a taste of their wines makes you want to get even more involved.
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