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A Tasting, Tour and Tea at the Yorkshire Heart Vineyard

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Have you tried English wine yet? Or Yorkshire wine? Well, it really is a thing and it’s surprisingly good! In fact, there’s not just one North Yorkshire vineyard, but at least three and one of these – the Yorkshire Heart Vineyard – is picking up awards for their wine.

Based at Nun Monkton, just 10 miles from the City of York, Yorkshire Heart Vineyard is a family-owned winery that’s been producing English wine since 2000. The family also run the Yorkshire Heart Brewery and you can take a tour of both the vineyard and the craft brewery.

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This photo shows a woman in a blue top and white jeans standing between the vines in the Heat of Yorkshire vineyard
Wandering through the vines at Yorkshire Heart Vineyard

About Yorkshire Heart Vineyard

The Yorkshire Heart Vineyard developed from a love of making “country wine” at home using locally foraged hedgerow fruits and from a real passion for horticulture. In early 2000, husband and wife team Chris and Gillian Spakouskas started their business, planting 35 vines in their garden, and they made their first Yorkshire wine in 2005.

After rigorous testing of the site, climate and soil, in 2006 they selected their seven-acre field as the perfect place for the next 1,500 vines, and they added between one and three thousand new vines every April for five years until they had filled the field with 12,500 vines.

Today, this successful North Yorkshire vineyard has expanded to 10 acres, growing 17 varieties of grapes on 22,000 vines, with the complete grape to glass process managed in house. On their journey, they’ve picked up an impressive clutch of industry awards for their fine English wine.

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About the Brewery

The Spakouskas family diversified into brewing in 2011, while waiting for their vines to become commercially productive. The brewery offered them a steady income and a popular product that could be made all year round.

Tim Spakouskas, Chris and Gillian’s son is the passionate head brewer (and delivery driver too if you’re local!)

Craft beer yorkshire heart 1

As I visited the vineyard when there were Covid restrictions in place, I wasn’t able to visit the brewery which is usually included in tours. I didn’t fret, as I don’t drink beer!

The vineyard tour experience

Here’s what’s included in the tour I took:

  1. Wine tasting and a talk about the vineyard
  2. Tour of the vineyard
  3. Tour of the winemaking room
  4. Afternoon tea

My tour took place when Covid social distancing restrictions were in place, so the order of my tour varied a little from the “normal” tour.

1. Wine tasting and a talk about the vineyard

Arriving at the vineyard, I was whisked into The Wine House and took a (socially distanced) seat at a table where a glass of the vineyard’s award-winning sparkling white wine awaited me. This 100% seyval blanc was very easy on the palate and I’d have enjoyed more of it had I not been driving. (Huge planning fail there.)

All of the guests on the tour loved this wine, which won the Mercian Vineyard Association Awarded Best Sparkling Wine Trophy (2014), and the Best Older Vintage Trophy (2014), plus a Gold Medal! More than a few guests bought some to take home.

Antipasti platter and a trio of tasting wines
The tasty little platter of nibbles with the tasting wines

As Chris talked through the history of the vineyard, with plenty of amusing anecdotes, we had three more wines to try and a tasty little antipasti platter to accompany the wine. 

The three wines that we tasted were:

  • Latimer White: this was light, fresh and bursting with apple fruit flavours, made from 100% solaris grapes,
  • Latimer Rosé: a very easy drinking wine, with a light pink colour and the flavour of sweet red summer fruits.
  • Latimer Red: a deep rich red, with black plum, blackberry and slightly spicy flavours, made from 100% Rondo grapes.

2. Tour of the vineyard

Me in blue top and white pants paused on a walk through a vineyard
Vines as far as the eye could see

After the tasting and introductory talk, we took a short walk out to the vineyards to see the vines and learn how to grow the perfect grape for winemaking. 

Chris talked about how to plant and cultivate vines, plus all of the essential jobs that keep him and his team busy year-round including the pruning and harvesting, and what they need to do to keep the vines healthy.

3. Tour of the winemaking room

Next, we trooped off to the winemaking room to learn about the ancient art of winemaking. 

Tour of winemaking facility
Chris i n the winemaking “room”

Chris entertained the group with his tales about every step in the winemaking process, from crushing, pressing and preserving, on to maturing, filtering, bottling and labelling the finished product. Absolutely every step happens “in house” at this family vineyard.

4. Afternoon tea

It was thirsty work, so we went back into the restaurant where Gillian had prepared bountiful afternoons teas for all, with a selection of sandwiches, and ridiculously tasty, freshly baked cakes. There were hearty fruit scones with lashings of jam and cream too. No host wants you to be hungry in Yorkshire!

Do you say scone as in moan or scone as in gone? There was much good-natured debate on this point. (In Yorkshire, it’s definitely the latter.)

As we tucked in, we tasted more of the vineyard’s wines, and the till rang merrily as the orders tumbled in.

Top tip: You don’t need to worry about getting your precious bottles to your car either – there’s always someone on hand more than willing to do that for you!

afternoon tea platter
The hearty afternoon tea after the vineyard tour

All in all, visiting the Yorkshire Heart Vineyard was a very relaxed experience and nothing like the vineyard tours I remember from many (many) moons ago in Bordeaux where a group of us rocked up, quaffed some wines, bought enough wine to sink a battleship a few bottles and headed off back home convinced we had scored a huge bargain.

This was so much less hurried and more personal. Having the time to learn about the vineyard and its processes direct from Chris and Gillian was a real bonus and made for a lovely experience.

How to get to Yorkshire Heart Vineyard

This Yorkshire vineyard is about 20 minutes by car from York City Center and 40 minutes from Harrogate.

Address: Pool Lane, Nun Monkton, York, Yorkshire, YO26 8EL Call: 01423 330716 Web: yorkshireheart.com

Alternatively, Hammerton (on the York to Leeds via Harrogate line) is the nearest train station, but it’s a 3-mile stagger walk to the vineyard. If you need a taxi, just let the vineyard team know, and they will be more than happy to recommend a reliable local firm.

Vineyard tours

Tickets are £25 per person for the 3.5 hour Vineyard Tour (including the Brewery Tour).  You can also book lunch before the tour or afternoon tea afterwards (at an additional cost), or even book a picnic among the wines!

Here’s where you can check availability and book your tickets.

store in vineyard with bottles of wine and craft beer on display
The vineyard store is well stocked with Yorkshire Heart wines and beers

Opening hours

The vineyard shop is open Monday – Saturday from 9.00 am – 5.00 pm, for you to pick up your supply of Yorkshire wine, with the cafe opening on tour dates.

Where to stay near the Yorkshire Heart Vineyard

If you’re visiting the area and fancy staying nearby, here are a few lovely places close to the vineyard:

The Tickled Trout Inn Bilton-in-Ainsty could not be more quaint. If you’re looking for a cosy room, thoughtful extra touches like milk in a Thermos for your morning cuppa, and very hearty food, this is a great choice!

Middlethorpe Hall & Spa is where to stay if you want a little pampering. It’s a real find! Dating back to 1699, this National Trust property simply oozes luxury, from the gorgeous guest rooms to the boutique spa, glorious gardens, and fine dining restaurant. It’s a great base for exploring the City of York and North Yorkshire.

So if you live in North Yorkshire or plan a visit to the area, I can highly recommend a tour at Yorkshire Heart Vineyard and if you enjoy tours with an alcohol-related twist, why not check out my post about the rather fabulous Whittakers Gin Distillery in rural North Yorkshire?

Yorkshire Heart Vineyard Resident Labrador
Molly the resident vineyard lab!

Where is your favourite vineyard? Is it in the UK or somewhere else? I’m hoping to be able to travel more soon and experience lots more wine tastings and wine from Yorkshire!

Check Out These Yorkshire Posts

The Most Beautiful Towns in Yorkshire

17 Reasons to Visit the Pretty Town of Knaresborough

Gorgeous Getaways From the City of York

12 Absolute Best Day Trips from the City of Leeds

Before You Go

If you’re heading to Yorkshire and fancy a trip to a lovely vineyard, be sure to bookmark this page for later! If you love England as much as I do, sign up for my weekly newsletter for even more adventures and tips for travels in England!

Until next time!

Until next time Grey Globetrotters

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Malin Razali

Saturday 25th of December 2021

Always love the sight of vineyard and never expected there is one at Yorkshire, very interesting indeed! And the afternoon tea looks amazing too.

Laureen Lund

Sunday 19th of December 2021

Great post. Saving for my next visit. I'm not familiar with UK wines...so this would be really fun to explore.

Coralie

Monday 20th of December 2021

I'm sure you will enjoy English wine on your next trip Laureen!

Linda (LD Holland)

Sunday 19th of December 2021

I might have thought of Yorkshire for breweries. As long as hubby can find a dark stout, he is happy. But would not have expected wine. It was interesting to read that the Yorkshire Heart Vineyard actually had 17 varieties of grapes. So lovely to have Afternoon Tea to finish off your winery experience. One of our favourite treats when we travel. Definitely a place we would love to visit if we ever get to Yorkshire.

Coralie

Monday 20th of December 2021

Thanks Linda - it was a definite find. I'm sure your hubby would enjoy the brewery part of the tour and that you would both love a trip to Yorkshire :)

Ava

Sunday 19th of December 2021

This looks like a great place to experience some English wine! I love wineries where you can add to your visit with food pairings, a tour, etc. I was surprised to learn that all 50 states in the US produce wine. I wonder how many countries do?

Coralie

Monday 20th of December 2021

Hi Ava, this was such a lovely winery and an informative, friendly tour. I had no idea that all 50 states had wineries! What a lot of options for tours!

Christina

Sunday 19th of December 2021

Never thought of England as a place for wine. But, I never would have thought of Missouri either. Cool to learn about lesser known great wine locations.

Coralie

Sunday 19th of December 2021

It was a surprise to me too Christina! I love discovering these off the beaten path places - thanks for visiting :)

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Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. That means that I may earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you buy something through my site. This helps me run my website and produce the articles that I hope you find helpful.

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