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The Producers … Dedham Vale Vineyard, Boxted

PUBLISHED: 16:01 25 June 2013 | UPDATED: 16:01 25 June 2013

Archant

SET in the North Essex countryside on the edge of the Stour Valley is an enchanting 40-acre vineyard. Formally known as Carter’s Vineyard, Dedham Vale Vineyard has recently rebranded to reflect its new facilities now on site.

Visitors are greeted by a new courtyard area with outdoor seating in front of a refurbished barn. The smart glass-fronted entrance leads you into a new shop and open-plan tasting area which caters for up to 50 guests. The shop stocks a range of local East Anglian products including apple juice, beers, crisps, mustards, cordials, oils and cider from the company’s own label, the Essex Cider Company. Of course, there’s also wines and Dedham Vale Vineyard is about to produce its own liqueurs from this year’s crop of damsons and plums.

The company is run by Tom and Ben Bunting. ‘One of the most exciting parts of our relaunch is our new food offering,’ explains Ben. ‘We are delighted to be joined by chef Carl Shillingford, who’s worked at Michelin-starred restaurants and most recently was the chef at The Anchor in Nayland.’

With Carl on board, the team will be offering lunches, ready meals to take away and smoked meats and pates to purchase from Carl’s own smokery.

The whole vineyard is set on the edge of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the courtyard is a real suntrap. Outside the shop are more tables on the lawn set beside a natural lake surrounded by trees. There’s also a selection of small plants for sale including herbs and of course grape vines should you want to try your hand at growing your own.

Working together, Ben and Tom produce a range of award-winning white, red, rose and sparkling wines from their own grapes plus offer wine tastings and guided tours of the vines starting from £12 per person, which includes a tour and wine tasting followed by a cream tea. The BBQ tours are also popular in the summer months with the wine tour and tasting ended with a barbecue on the lawn.

This year there are also events coming up; firstly a Classic Car Rally this month, and then in September a Wine and Cider Festival. The vineyard is open from noon to 6pm from Wednesday to Sunday, offering morning coffees, lunches and teas, so why not visit at your leisure to enjoy a self-guided tour from just £5 per head?

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