Glug! Local vineyards to visit this summer
English wine is officially having a moment - and what better time to try it than in English Wine Week? Top up your glass with a drop from one of these local Suffolk and Cambs vineyards.
What? Saffron Grange is well-known in the area for its award-winning sparkling wine. The family-run local vineyard has been running on the site since 2008 and the team now have four delicious wines for you to buy. And why the Woolly Mammoth logo, we hear you ask? That’s because tusks and teeth of these ancient giants have been unearthed in the River Slade which runs along the bottom of the site!
Where? It’s based in Little Walden, just on the border of Cambs and Essex – on the sunny southern slopes of the village, which combined with the perfect chalky soil conditions (the same chalk seam that runs through Northern France) makes for very happy grapes.
How do I try? You can buy directly from the vineyard’s website here.
Stand-out sip The Classic Cuvée is a delight – a blend of 50% Pinot Noir, 35% Chardonnay and 15% Pinot Meunier.
What? The vines at Wyken Vineyards were planted back in 1988 and there are now some 12,000 vines which produce around the same number of bottles a year. It’s one of our favourite places to visit with a shop, Leaping Hare restaurant and gardens and walks to be discovered.
Where? Wyken is part of a 1200-acre farm on the outskirts of Stanton in Suffolk. Seven acres are devoted to vines which produce award-winning wines.
How do I try? All wines are sold through the website or the shop and restaurant on site (well worth a visit for a delicious meal or to mooch around the stylish country store). There’s a farmers’ market every Saturday too, so you can pick up some lovely local food to go with your drink too!
Stand-out sip: You’ll not find a better way to celebrate English Wine Week than with the Bacchus, a dry wine with the character of a sauvignon blanc, which was a Gold Medal Winner in 2017.
What? Giffords Hall is a family-run vineyard planted around 25 years ago on the site of an ancient glacial riverbed (good soil for grapes apparently!).
Where? You’ll find Giffords a few miles outside Bury St Edmunds in the pretty village of Hartest. In the summer vineyard tours and tastings are available and The Cellar Door Shop sells some lovely gifty bits including candles, cards, and glassware. There is also a cafe which opens at weekends during the summer.
How do I try? You can buy directly from the vineyard or find bottles at the Suffolk Food Hall and Waitrose.
Stand-out sip: The range of wines includes an aromatic Bachhus and a fruity red Pinot Noir blend, but its the an award winning Giffords Hall Rosé that you’ll find us knocking back during English Wine Week.
What? Shawsgate is one of Suffolk’s oldest vineyards (planted in the 1970s) and so has a great range of white, red, rosé and sparkling wines from its 20 acres of vines. It’s a nice place for a day out as there’s a play area, space for picnics and you can do a tour followed by afternoon tea.
Where? The vineyard is just outside Framlingham in Suffolk, so you can combine a tour of the vines with a tour of the castle for the perfect day out.
How do I try? Bottles are available online or from the vineyard shop.
Stand-out sip: The Shawsgate Rose 2014 Sparkling BRUT won a Silver Award for it “berry-rich bouquet that unfolds into an attractive summer fruit palate”.
What? This 8-acre vineyard was planted back in 1987 but taken over by current owners Elaine and Vanessa in 2014 when they were looking for a change in their pace of life! They produce five types of grape, specialising in white, rosé, blush and sparkling wines.
Where? Wissett (near Halesworth) in Suffolk. Tasted a few too many glasses of the good stuff during a visit here? Probably best to book yourself in to the holiday accommodation on site – The Cabin-in-the-vines!
How do I try? Bottles are for sale at the vineyard, online and at local stockists
Stand-out sip: The 2015 Madeleine Angevine dry white wine won a gold medal at the UKVA English and Welsh wine competition. Their English sparkling “Sundancer” is a lip-smacking local alternative to champers.
What? Chilford Hall Vineyard is owned by the Alper Family, who made their money in the Little Chef chains. But don’t worry, the wines produced here are much classier than your average Little Chef fry up! The first vines were planted in 1972 and it is now one of the most famous and celebrated vineyards in East Anglia.
Where? Chilford Hall is near Linton, a village outside Cambridge. The 20 acres of vines are situated on the rolling chalk hills of the Cambridgeshire Downs, which have similar soil to the Champagne region! the winery holds wine tasting and tours through the summer months and has a shop and bistro in the stunning grounds of the Hall with is eclectic collection of art, sculpture and architectural oddities on display in the gardens.
How do I try? You can buy directly from the website or visit for a tour and tastings followed by afternoon tea.
Stand-out sip: The Chancellor (great name!) is a light sparkling wine that has won awards for its green apple, pear and lemon zest flavours.
What? There’s been a vineyard here for around 25 years and the onsite winery (powered by renewable energy sources) now produces six wines as well as cider and fruit liqueurs.
Where? This 40-acre vineyard is on the edge of the Stour Valley in the beautiful Constable Country (technically Essex, but close enough to the border for us to claim it as Suffolk!).
How do I try? There’s a Vineyard Shop and Tasting Barn, as well as the chance to do tours throughout the year or go on a self-guided walk. In August the vineyard hosts a wine festival too. You can buy the bottles to be delivered at home directly from the website.
Stand-out sip: Celebrate English Wine Week with bubbles with the DV Sparkling English Brut 2013.