Vineyard set to expand with new brewery
AN Essex vineyard which is already successful in the art of winemaking is set to make its mark with a new brewery.Mersea Island Vineyard near Colchester, run by Roger and Jacqui Barber, already boasts bed and breakfast accommodation overlooking the River Colne and Blackwater estuary.
AN Essex vineyard which is already successful in the art of winemaking is set to make its mark with a new brewery.
Mersea Island Vineyard near Colchester, run by Roger and Jacqui Barber, already boasts bed and breakfast accommodation overlooking the River Colne and Blackwater estuary.
Now, thanks to the intervention of their son Mark, 28, long-held plans to diversify the business further by making their own beer have finally come to fruition.
Soon real-ale tipples, Yo Boy, Skippers and Mersea Mud will be on offer to beer lovers and vineyard visitors at the new on-site café when it opens at Easter.
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And before then, an official opening on March 18 will see publicans and other local retailers able to sample the new brews.
Mr Barber said yesterday: “The name Yo Boy comes from the traditional Mersea sailors' greeting. Real Mersea people don't say hello. They say 'yo'.
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“Mersea is predominantly a tourist place. People like to travel here for the day and now this will provide another aspect to their visit.”
Although the couple had planned to exploit the tourist market when they first purchased the vineyard in 1997, it was their son who spurred them to their latest business venture.
“Our son wanted to join us,” said Mr Barber. “He liked the lifestyle. We said 'yes, but what are you going to do?'
“That's how we came up with the microbrewery.
“Now it'll be run by our son with a little bit of assistance from Dad - and with room to employ someone else to help.
“We are looking to create more employment which will be beneficial on the island. Unfortunately most people have to go away to work.”
Mr Barber added: “There's tremendous interest in real ale. We've already had an email from Poland.
“We're planning to offer brewery breaks and are converting part of the barn into three-bed accommodation.
“And we're already starting to get beer festivals booked. We're very positive about what we're doing for us and for the island as a whole.”