Vineyards of Norfolk
Published date: October 2018
Norfolk is not widely recognised as a grape growing region, with wheat, barley and sugar beet more commonly grown. However, Norfolk does have the climate to produce some delicious award-winning wines, especially still whites, so you may like to consider buying a Norfolk produced wine when you next replenish your wine rack.
The following Norfolk vineyards produce a variety of differing wines, all of which can be visited, and their produce sampled.
Humbleyard English Wine
This vineyard in Mulbarton, Norfolk has warm and well drained south facing slopes and soft fruits have been grown here very successfully for the past 35 years. Largely protected from frost, it seemed the ideal location to Robert Preston, owner of Humbleyard Vineyard, for growing vines. The first vines were planted in 2010, with additional plantings in 2011 and 2012. The vineyard now has 9 varieties of grapes, totalling around 10,000 vines, over 8 acres, with each variety flowering and ripening at different times of the summer and autumn. This reduces the risk of crop loss due to bad weather and means that as the timing of harvest is very precise, (determined by the grape’s sugar and acid levels) they are not all ripe at the same time.
Humbleyard grow both white and red grapes and they make a range of white and rosé still and sparkling wines. They generally have a selection of blended and single varietal wines, from medium dry to off-dry styles. The white varieties are Bacchus, Solaris, Chardonnay, Reichensteiner and Sauvignon Blanc. The red varieties are Pinot Noir, Rondo, Pinot Meunier and Cabernet Cortis.
The vineyard is open to the public, with self-guided maps available from Paddock Farm Shop, Mulbarton, which is a 10-minute walk from the vineyard. The Farm Shop at Paddock Farm also stock the current range of Humbleyard English Wines as well as fruit and vegetables, apple juice from their own orchards and honey from hives on the farm. PYO soft fruit is available during the summer.
You can also buy Humbleyard English Wine online from their website:
Winbirri Vineyards, Bramerton Road, Surlingham, Norfolk is owned by grower and winemaker, Lee Dyer.
Producing award-winning wine, Winbirri is an established name in the international scene and the vineyard is located less than 10 miles to the east of Norwich and is open for group tours. Their “Vineyard Tour and Tasting Experience Days” include a guided tour by Lee Dyer himself, a bit about the history of the vineyard and the methods used to care for the vines. The day finishes with some wine tasting – the best part!
A variety of grapes are grown at Winbirri, including Bacchus, which have gained a reputation as one of the regions’ finest exports. White varieties include Seyval Blanc and Solaris and Pinot Noir, which produces a delicate and delicious red wine.
To find out more about Winbirri Vineyards and to purchase their wine direct, visit their website:
Chet Valley Vineyard
Nestled in the sunny and sheltered picturesque Norfolk village of Bergh Apton, Chet Valley Vineyard is owned by winemaker John Hemmant, the second son of a local Norfolk farmer. This family run vineyard and winery produces award winning quality English sparkling wine, still whites and rosé wines.
Once a traditional farm, the Chet Valley vineyard has a unique climate, with higher than average sunshine hours combined with the lowest rainfall in England. The sea breezes also mean that the vineyard experiences lower incidences of vine disease, ensuring their grapes ripen beautifully under these ideal conditions.
Chet Valley Vineyard offers wine tasting tours.
For more information and to purchase their wine direct, visit their website: