7 places to enjoy a vineyard tour and wine tasting in Norfolk and Suffolk
- Credit: Denise Bradley
What could be lovelier than a walk in the countryside paired with a little light learning about wine-making - followed by a delicious drink made of grapes picked from the vines you have just been wandering through?
As East Anglia’s burgeoning wine industry grows ever-more successful many vineyard owners are keen to show off exactly what they are doing and why it tastes so good.
Winbirri Vineyard in Surlingham, near Norwich has won many awards and its Winbirri Bacchus was the world’s top white wine made from a single grape variety in 2017.
Tours of the vineyard and winery, with its 50,000 vines across 34 acres, run every weekend and some Wednesdays until September. Head winemaker Lee Dyer leads each tour and tasting experience day. Find out how to turn grapes into white, red and English sparkling wine - finishing, of course, with a chance to sample a selection of Winbirri wines.
Tours are £25 per person, and guests can add the chance to enjoy cheese and charcuterie platters with their wine.
On the grapevine: Winbirri also has a pretty wine garden, which is open weekends 11am-7pm for guests to enjoy a glass of wine overlooking the vines which produced them.
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Wine tours are one of the specialities of Flint Vineyard at Earsham, near Bungay.
The vineyard was established five years ago and guided tours run on many Wednesdays and Saturdays until September, taking in the vineyards and purpose-built winery and the mysteries of wine-making, plus the all-important tasting session. Guided tours are £25, with lunch another £24.50.
On the grapevine: The 15-mile lunch option includes cheese, charcuterie, bread, medlar jelly, and wine of course, all made within just 15 miles.
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Valley Farm Vineyards, Wissett, near Halesworth, produce vintage, single estate still and sparkling wines.
Tours of this eight acre site with its 3,000 newly renovated vintage vines include a 90-minute guided walk around the vines and wine tasting for £25. A longer tour and tasting for £30 gives visitors the chance to bring their own picnic too, and if you want your picnic provided, plus the full tour and tasting, tickets are £40.
On the grapevine: If you love Valley Farm Vineyards so much that you fancy moving in,book its charming holiday cabin for two, set among the vines. Guests get a bottle of wine and self-guided tour allowing them to explore the vineyard at their leisure.
Chet and Waveney Valley Vineyard in Bergh Apton, near Loddon is based on a traditional family farm and produces sparkling, white and rosé wines. Guided tours include the chance to hear the story of Norfolk wine from one of its first commercial winemakers. John Hemmant will take you through every aspect of viticulture and wine-making from planting the vines to sipping the wines. With a world bronze award for one of its whites, there’s lots to discover.
Tours run every Wednesday and Saturday in until harvest time in October and cost £25 per person. Guests can add a luxury £25 lunch too, including locally sourced charcuterie, cheese, bread, olives, and savoury and sweet pastries.
On the grapevine: If you can’t make it to the vineyard, try virtual wine tasting sessions with a carefully curated tasting kit of Chet Valley wines and a video call to talk you through it all.
Humbleyard Vineyard in Mulbarton, near Norwich, has eight acres of vines producing white, rosé and sparkling wines. The first vines were planted in 2010 on the site of an orchard. Its vineyard tours and tastings include a walk, talk and trailer ride as well as wine and nibbles. Current tours are fully booked but the vineyard is hoping to add more dates later in the summer.
On the grapevine: Maps for a self-guided tour are available from the farm shop, Monday to Saturday, 9am-5pm.
Shawsgate Vineyard near Framlingham is one of East Anglia’s oldest commercial vineyards and produces a range of whites, reds, roses and English sparkling wines.
Guided tours can be bought as gifts and include a vineyard tour and tasting lasting almost two hours costs £33 for two, or a four-hour experience day with lunch, is £86 for two. The tours run on Saturdays in July, August and September.
On the grapevine: Visitors are welcome to pick up a map and information sheet and enjoy a free tour of the vineyard throughout the year – with lots to see as the seasons change.
Babu’s Vineyard in Weston Longville, near Norwich, was planted on an acre of land by Peter Ross as a retirement project 12 years ago. He has a tiny back-garden winery too. Tour and lunch dates for 2021 will be published online soon.
On the grape vine: Anyone inspired to get even more involved can sign up to help harvest this year’s grapes in September - finishing with a fine lunch and last year’s vintage.