Leiston Abbey

Norwich Wine Week

Out & About

Imagine a seven-day pass researching wine! A week to savour a bottle or two you’ve not tried before.
A week to get friends together for a night out. A week to book special events, to mingle with expert wine makers, and learn about some of the wonderful wine that’s coming out of Norfolk. We have a lot of award-winning vineyards to shout about!

It’s a date

Kicking off the week is a special Flint vineyard event at Yalm in the Royal Arcade, Norwich on Saturday 3 June. Then, throughout the whole week (3-10 June), across the city celebrating wine made in Norfolk, and great wines from around the world. You’ll find special events such as wine-tasting, featured wines on menus, wine and food pairing and so much more. Participating venues at Norwich Wine Week, includes The Wallow, The Garnet, Cinema City, The Last Norwich and many more.

The week will then culminate with a 2-day ticketed festival (9-10 June) in Chapelfield Gardens. Choose between Friday or Saturday afternoon tickets 1pm-4pm or evening tickets 5pm-8pm. General admission costs £15.

Your ticket will get you in the door (so to speak). Once in, mingle, chat and socialise with local vineyards, expert wine growers and exhibitors where (included in the ticket price) you can try up to 10 different wine samples from Burn Valley Vineyard, Chet Valley Vineyard, Babu’s Vineyard, Cobble Hill Vineyard, Virgin Wines, Substrata Wines, Lea & Sandeman, Majestic Wines and CH Wine Merchants.

Setting the scene

Live music provided by Norwich Summer Sessions will add to the festival atmosphere, plus there’ll be DJ’s, a tote bag for everyone and the wonderful Mysabar stretch tent in situ (you may remember how popular Mysabar was from its stint in Castle Gardens).

With relaxed seating in the Mysabar tent and outdoor benches and parasols, a fully stocked bar including all the featured wines, and local food stations from The Thornham Oyster Co., Moco Kitchens (vegan & gluten free), Garden Kitchen Café and Dann’s Ice-Cream, everything is taken care of.

To upgrade your wine knowledge, purchase a bundle ticket which includes one seated themed 30-minute guided tasting session in the Tasting Tent hosted by Norfolk Wine School (£25 – includes general admission – plus a small booking fee).

There are some great sessions to choose from – over 10 in fact – including: How to Pair Food and Wine with Thornham Oyster Company; Wine Tasting with Burn Valley Vineyard; Posh vs Plonk with Norfolk Wine School; Under the Radar Wine Regions with CH Wine Merchants; Wine Tasting with Flint Vineyard -The Importance of Innovation in Making Local Wine; Wines with Altitude with Harper Wells; Natural Wine; isn’t all wine natural? with Substrata Wines; Climate Change and Wine with CH Wine Merchants; Wine Tasting with Burn Valley Vineyard and From New Zealand to Norfolk; How to Pair Food and Wine with the Garden Kitchen Café.

Jeremy Dunn, Owner and Chief Wine Tutor at Norfolk Wine School told me “Norfolk Wine School has been enhancing people’s enjoyment of wine for over seven years by hosting fun and engaging wine tastings, courses and food and wine events. I love seeing the light-bulb moment on guests faces when they realise the difference just a little bit of wine knowledge makes when choosing wines in shops, bars and restaurants.”

Jeremy explained why he wanted to get involved with Norwich Wine Week: “A weeklong celebration of wine is a great new addition to the local food and drink calendar. It’s a wonderful way for anybody interested in wine to meet with local wine experts and vineyards in a relaxed, festival environment and discover new wines from all around the world. It’s also a great chance to explore the wines made by local vineyards. Awareness is increasing, but I doubt many people realise just how good they are. We’ve got the right climate, a rapidly growing number of vineyards and most importantly a whole bunch of enthusiastic and talented winemakers making award-winning, world-class still and sparkling wines right on our doorstep. There’s a lot to get excited about!”

Meet the Vineyards

Enjoy a chat with a passionate wine expert from all of the featured local vineyards and more importantly (almost!), try their wines. There is a lot to learn – find out what goes into making wine in Norfolk, the variety of grapes grown, how our climate makes wine making so successful, sustainable practises, and how traditional wine making traditions are followed. You can also find out about the experiences they are offering on site, at their vineyards, if you want to head out and visit them another time. Which I thoroughly recommend!

Burn Valley Vineyard is situated on a family farm in North Creake (3 miles south of Burnham Market). Born of an idea from John Robinson in 2015, his two daughters – Laura and Samantha – work on the vineyard whilst their brother farms the surrounding land. The family are immensely proud to call Norfolk their home and want to capture its essence in a bottle.

Chet Valley Vineyard can be found in Bergh Apton just 20 minutes-drive from Norwich in South Norfolk. In 2022 Chet Valley was named by The Times as one of the best UK vineyards you can stay the night – and having visited myself I can see why. Winemaker John Hemmant, uses a uniquely sustainable philosophy, deeply rooted in respect for the natural element of winemaking and the beautiful environment of the vineyard. The vineyard has a collection of award-winning artisan English wines year-on-year, from fruit-forward rosés to aromatic whites with a wide range of still and sparkling wines. In fact, Chet Valley is the only Norfolk vineyard to make and bottle on site their delicious sparkling wine which is made by the traditional method of secondary fermentation in the bottle. The vineyard estate spans over 10 hectares of family-owned land with sheltered and sun-soaked fields.

Babu’s Vineyard is a small artisan vineyard 17 miles northwest of Norwich in Weston Longville. It began in 2009 when retired Peter Ross decided to plant a vineyard with the help of friends and neighbours. Today, Peter has established a winery which has subsequently produced a succession of award-winning wines.

Cobble Hill Vineyard in Burnham Market is an award winning 3.6-hectare, vineyard on the outskirts of the village in North Norfolk. Their first vines were planted in 2016 by Robert Perowne, an experienced farmer, who had dreamt of planting his own vineyard decades before it happened. He chose three varieties to ensure they would thrive – Pinot Noir, one of the oldest known varieties, Bacchus, an earlier ripening, reliable, and consistent grape variety, and Chardonnay.

How to book

Book your tickets at norwichwineweek.co.uk  for £15 (+ a booking fee) or £25 (+ a booking fee).

June top tips

1. Have a fabulous day out at Houghton Hall. Not only can you see their latest exhibition by award-winning artist Sean Scully. But included in the ticket price (£20) is admission to the Sculpture Park, the Walled Garden, The Soldier Museum and the east to east contemporary art exhibition from East Anglian artists. Check houghtonhall.com for opening.

2. New: Jazz in June in the Maids Head Hotel courtyard on 2, 9, 23 and 30 June. Tickets cost £10 and must be pre-booked. For an extra £10 treat yourself to a sharing board!

3. Clutter City Night Market at Norwich Arts Centre, Friday 16 June, 5pm-9pm. Head out to enjoy locally made products from artisans including some of Norfolk’s best local makers, artists, illustrators and designers! There will be a mix of jewellery, prints, ceramics, clothing and homeware. And the bar will be open! Free entry.

Full details of everything mentioned here and loads more ideas can be found at www.visitnorwich.co.uk