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  1. ITV Report

Corner of Essex that's becoming one of the country's finest wine producing areas

  • Click below to watch a report by ITV News Anglia's Hannah Pettifer

Now how about this for a wine fact?! Did you know that a remote eastern corner of Essex boasts more vineyards than any other district in the country.

It turns out the Dengie Peninsula in Essex has a unique climate for producing wine. Positioned on the River Crouch, the maritime breeze keeps the cold at bay.

It's harvest time at the moment in the Dengie Credit: ITV News Anglia

"We have a very temperate microclimate here, we have lower rainfall than anywhere else in the UK which gives these fruits a chance to ripen and grow, a lot of the fruits here are very aromatic, they need a long hanging time on the vine if possible to develop incredible complex fruity flavours in the wine, the wine is smooth, well made and very complex."

– Lucy Winward, New Hall Vineyards
The area has more vineyards than any other district in the country. Credit: ITV News Anglia

New Hall vineyard in Purleigh was founded in 1969 with just a handful of vines.

Now it produces 12 varieties of grape and 100,000 bottles of wine.

20 years ago it was the only big vineyard in the Dengie, but now there are six vineyards in the area, covering more than 200 acres, producing 200,000 bottles of wine a year.

New Hall vineyard in Purleigh began back in 1969

The group of vineyards in the Dengie are now working to establish the district as a specific wine region, called the Crouch Valley.

The idea behind it, to put the area and its wine onto an international stage.

First vines were planted at Martin's Lane vineyard in Stow Maries in 2010. Credit: ITV News Anglia

"I don't know another area that can compare with it, with the altitude which is a significant thing, you don't want to be over 100m high planting grapes, the aspect is correct, the river protection is correct, I can't think of anywhere else in the UK that can boast those attributes alongside the fact it is the warmest and driest corner of England. I don't know anywhere else that can rival for an expanding wine industry which is quite exciting."

– Roy Martin, Martin's Lane Vineyard
Credit: ITV News Anglia