A vineyard in North Yorkshire you say? You must be joking! But this family run business halfway between York and Harrogate in North Yorkshire is breaking all the rules, and winning awards for their produce. When we first arrived in England, I was surprised to learn about English wineries – when you think of wine country you most certainly don’t think of the UK. But this little gem in Yorkshire is proving us all wrong.
When I learnt of Yorkshire Heart Vineyard I was immediately interested to try their tour. There are limited tour days each month so it had been difficult to find a time to go, but when my parents visited from Australia last month the timings aligned perfectly. In Perth we are very spoiled with our close proximity to wineries in Margaret River (see ‘Margaret River | Travel Diary‘) and the Swan Valley, so it was nice to do something we are fond of doing back home.
YORKSHIRE HEART – THE HISTORY
There is no denying that this family is incredibly proud and passionate about their business. The Yorkshire Heart Vineyard was born from a love of making wine from fruits and a passion for growing plants. This husband and wife business started with a small amount of vines in their garden in 2000 and made their first wine 5 years later. In 2006 they commenced planting on a commercial basis and now have 17 varieties of grapes over 10 acres.
Yorkshire Heart’s Winemaker, Gillian, is responsible for making the perfect drop. The entire grape to glass process is carried out in house – a truly Yorkshire product to be proud of!
We started with the brewery tour in the unassuming building off-site from the vineyard. Our small group was told to ‘mind the gap‘ and watch out for hoses etc. – I was suddenly rethinking my decision to wear my Prada stiletto boots. The brewery was establish in 2011 and their son is responsible for operating it. He took us through his brewing processes, what ingredients are used and how they bottle the beer. I couldn’t believe how manual the process is and that each bottle is still individually labeled. There were plenty of tastings along the way and a type of beer to suit every taste bud. I particularly liked the Vale of York – Pale Ale. I also like the nod to Game of Thrones with beers names such as ‘The North Remembers‘ and ‘Beyond the Wall‘. The brewery tour lasted approximately 1 hour and was a great insight into the ins and outs of operating a micro-brewery.
We were welcomed into The Wine House and took a seat at a table where a glass of sparkling wine was already awaiting us. Chris took us through the history of the vineyard and how it all started. We then progressed to the vineyards to view the vines and learnt how to grow the perfect grape for wine making. It was then onto the wine making room where we discovered how the wine is made and bottled. We returned inside to try three more wines – white, rose and red. And we were also treated to a little antipasti platter to accompany the wine. I was a huge fan of the sparkling wine and it reminded me of the sparkling wines from Tasmania which have gained popularity in recent years. One could argue that the climates are similar so its not that surprising really.
I must say that this experience was very different to vineyard tours in Australia. Normally we would arrive at the cellar doors, taste a few wines, buy a few wines and be on our merry way. It was interesting to learn about the vineyard and its processes and enjoy our wine tastings in a relaxed and friendly manner.
GETTING THERE & OPENING HOURS
Yorkshire Heart Vineyard is about 20 minutes by car from York City Center (dependent on the York traffic!). It is best accessed by car so you will need to drive yourself or find a skipper. The nearest train station is Hammerton which is 3 miles from the vineyard. Their cafe is open on tour days and the shop is open Monday – Saturday from 9.00am – 5.00pm. There are limited tour days each month so check the website and pre-book your tickets.
TOUR COST & DURATION
Tickets cost £25 per person for the Vineyard Tour plus the Brewery Tour. The total duration was 3.5 hours. There is an option to book lunch before the tour or afternoon tea following the tour (at an additional cost).
ACCOMMODATION CLOSE TO YORKSHIRE HEART
If you are visiting the area and wish to stay somewhere close to the vineyard, here are a few options for you to try:
- The Bay Horse
- The Red Lion
- Skipbridge Farm – If you want a different experience then Skipbridge Farm looks excellent. They offer Glamping, Cottages and a Shepard’s Hut.
Furthermore, Yorkshire Heart offer the option of camping at their vineyard from April – October. Further details and bookings can be found on Pitchup.
YORKSHIRE HEARTY FESTIVAL
The Yorkshire Hearts ‘Hearty’ Festival is being held on Friday 3rd & Saturday 4th May. A true Yorkshire celebration with over 30 real ales, their very own English wines and Yorkshire ciders and Gin & Fizz Bar! Its fun for all the family on Saturday with live music, bouncy castle, inflatable assault course, pizza van and more! Buy tickets online – Yorkshire Hearty Festival.
So if you live in North Yorkshire or are planning a visit to the area, I highly recommend including a tour at Yorkshire Heart Vineyard. Its a not a ‘typical‘ Yorkshire experience but one I think you will thoroughly enjoy if you are a wine enthusiast. And if you enjoy alcohol related tours, why not check out my previous post ‘Master Distiller | Distill your own Gin at Spirit of Harrogate‘.
Tell me about your favorite wine region in the world in the comments below – I need to add some more to my bucket list! Shell x