The vineyard was established 25 years ago, and now produces 25 000 bottles of hand crafted English wine each year. The site hosts a lake and nature reserve, alongside acres of vines that we were given a guided tour of. It was incredibly informative learning how the production of wine takes place, how much time and effort goes into producing a quality crafted product, and how much thought goes in to battling year round with Britain's cold and wet climate!
True to form, the day of our visit was very grey and very damp, but the sight of the vineyard and surrounding area was still spectacular. This is quite possibly my favourite time of year to be outdoors, warm autumn colours, crisp winds blushing your cheeks and crunchy leaves to trample over, it was lovely to wander around the site and soak up the autumn atmosphere.
We headed indoors to warm up with wine tasting and a light lunch. Sadly, everybody in our group felt that the wine left a little to be desired. English wine is still very much in its infancy, and perhaps we aren't knowledgeable enough just yet to fully embrace the fresher grass-like taste, but it suffices to say that nobody from the tasting felt the desire to purchase a bottle to take home to enjoy later that evening, although we did all appreciate the effort that went in to making it. We enjoyed a light lunch of cheese, cold cuts and bread and even got to sample a 'wet walnut', something we'd never heard of before, but that they also farm on the site.
I would very much enjoy going back to see the vineyard at work during season. There are chances to get involved with grape picking, and they even host a wine and cider festival that takes place in the summer which sounds like the ideal way to enjoy the area. It was a lovely day out, and one that I would recommend if you ever find yourself wanting something outdoorsy to do in the depths of Essex, just perhaps don't hold high hopes of finding your new favourite tipple.