Monday , January 24 2022
The Vineyard Diaries 1

The Vineyard Diaries

Burn Valley Vineyard  |

Laura and Sam of Burn Valley Vineyard in North Norfolk join us as columnists

The Vineyard Diaries 2We are two sisters, Laura and Sam, and, in 2016, Burn Valley Vineyard was born with 17,000 vines being planted on our father’s farm in North Creake, just outside Burnham Market. 

The idea came about from our father, John, following a visit to France; in true farmer style he was inspecting the soil quality there and soon realised the resemblance to our Norfolk soil! We were both living abroad at the time (Laura in Norway and Sam in Vietnam) and it was a sure-fire way to get us back home to good ol’ Norfolk. 

We now both live very close to the farm where we grew up, and the site of the vineyard and winery – Laura lives with her partner Steve and their seven-year-old twins, Molly and Max. Sam lives with her two-year-old, Maya. 

Our lovely long-suffering brother, Jack, lives and works on the farm with his wife Natalie and their children, Archie and Ava. 

Our 12-acre field is home to nine different grape varieties (including Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Bacchus and Solaris) and we produce whites, reds, roses and also sparkling wine. This year we are also releasing our very first dessert wine, named Solar. 

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Fortunately, with the help of one of the last EU grants, we were able to build our own winery in 2019, which currently serves as a venue for our wine tasting events. This year, fingers crossed, these will all begin mid-April. We also run Burn Valley Catering (headed up by Laura’s partner Steve) and work alongside each other to create our popular ‘Secret Supper’ events and Steak Nights. Our catering company is also well-known for providing a first-class service for weddings and other special occasions. 

Laura is also Chair of Wine GB East Anglia which she finds a rewarding role. This provides a great platform for participating local vineyards to work together in promoting our region and its fabulous wines. 

Now, what have we been up to?
Vineyard life is seldom quiet, but this week in particular has been a big one for our team as we are busy bottling our 2020 harvest; which has been deliciously fermenting away in oak barrels and tanks since the grapes were picked last Autumn. Labelling will be done shortly and we then will be able to share our 2020 selection with you all – available to buy online, at our cellar door or from a hand-picked selection of local retailers. 

Also at this time of year, the not-so-pleasant job of the ‘winter prune’ is thankfully now completed and we are almost finished ‘tying-down’ the canes; which keeps them in place on the fruiting wire for next harvest. This was done during the picturesque snow but made for some interesting working days.

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We were also getting ready for the Farmers’ Market at Creake Abbey – which was the first one since our appearance at the market on the BBC1 show, Farmers’ Country Showdown, which can be found on BBC iPlayer if you missed it! 

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