Our Vineyard Story

Our award winning wines are produced from grapes grown in our Vineyard at Nun Monkton, York, handpicked by our dedicated team of helpers and processed in our very own modern winery. Winemaker Gillian carefully monitors the wines during the 12 month fermentation/maturation period. All wines are stabilized before filtering, bottling, labelling and packaging in house. Our Sparkling wines are the only sparkling fully produced from grape to glass in Yorkshire by means of the traditional Champagne method of 2nd fermentation. We are immensely proud of a business that creates fine artisan Yorkshire products by our very hard working team.

The Yorkshire Heart Vineyard was born from a love of making wine from the fruits found in hedgerows and gardens and a passion for growing plants.

It all began in the early part of the year 2000 when we planted 35 vines in our garden at Green Hammerton, 5 years later we had made our first official wine (to be called wine it has to be made from grapes), this inspired us to look at the possibility of planting on a commercial basis.

After consultancy about site, climate and soil testing, our 7 acre field was selected as having most potential. 2006 saw the very first 1500 vines planted, followed by 1000 to 3000 vines planted each April for the next 5 years bringing the total number to 12,500 which filled this site.

It has been slow but wonderful process full of incredible highs & lows due to the good old English weather! We envisaged planting just one acre as a serious hobby but have continued planting 1000-2000 vines each year to become the top quality award winning vineyard that we are today.

When we first began we didn’t need wine making equipment for the first two years, so the initial investment was the vines and trellising. Bit by bit we bought what we needed, and we have now replaced our original equipment with more modern equipment, the vines are now become more mature resulting in the grapes having more flavour. At the very start we were always confident that the vines would grow, we were 90 per cent confident the fruit would ripen, and after that it was down to our ability or inability to make wine from it.

2011 saw further development for the business as a whole when we decided to set up our micro-brewery to produce our fantastic quality craft ales. Find out more about our brewery here

The vast majority of our vineyard are hybrid grapes that have been bred for northern Europe which is one of the reasons we are making such good quality wine.

In 2014 we decided to expand further and so the adjoining field was purchased & another 4500 vines planted consisting of Rondo for Red and Rosé wines, Ortega for quality white wine and 2000 Seyval Blanc for the gold award winning English Sparkling Wine.

This now brings our total up to 10 acres of land growing 17,000 vines. We are growing 17 varieties and are quickly finding out which are most suited to our climate and topography, also which will make the best quality and flavoured wines.

If winemaking wasn’t enough we have also planted a cider orchard which is a mixture of dessert, cooking and cider trees! Cider production should begin in 2017!

The Vintage Reports

The 2015 Vintage ReportThe 2014 Vintage ReportThe 2013 Vintage ReportThe 2012 Vintage ReportThe 2011 Vintage Report

2015 as 2014 saw a late frost in May destroyed the growing points meaning we had a limited crop for the second year in a row, this hopefully will be the last year we have this problem as we have now purchased some ‘Frost Busters’ which are fans that move the air around the vines so reduce the risk of the frost attacking. The year from a growing point of view has been very cold & wet meaning it has been a challenge to grow healthy grapes to produce top quality wine from start to finish, but the crop we did harvest in September & October was very promising considering the challenges we faced.

Early 2016 has seen us upgrading our sparkling wine equipment ready for degorging the 2013 sparkling wine to have it ready for sale in early spring which we are really excited about. For the vineyard as a whole 2015 was an amazing year for the whole team with a huge increase in wine tour visitors, parties, meetings & other events as well as the introduction of camping/caravan stays. We have met some wonderful people and look forward to seeing many new & old faces over the next 12 months!

The 2014 vintage has been a challenge for us from start to finish due to the unfavourable weather patterns, a very late (-7 degree) frost on 5th May 2014 caused a lot of the spring growing points to be destroyed meaning we had a very limited crop. We harvested a very small but very healthy flavoursome set of grapes at the end of September early October

Due to the lateness in the wine making process of this vintage none of the wines were ready to enter the UKVA competition this year.

2014-The Yorkshire Heart winery proudly produced 5300 bottles of wine in 2014:

Sparkling White Wine Non-Vintage 2013 download tech sheet

Sparkling Rose Wine Non-Vintage 2013 download tech sheet

Eleanor White Wine download tech sheet

Winemakers White Wine download tech sheet

English Red Wine download tech sheet

Winemakers Red Wine download tech sheet

Still Rose Wine download tech sheet

We were absolutely thrilled with the 2013 and the amazing awards they won us especially since we only started producing wine commercially in 2011.

We have developed hugely from producing just 3000 bottles of wine in 2012 to an incredible 10,000 in 2013 and hoping for even larger and better quality production over the coming years as the whole vineyard comes in to production.

2013- The Yorkshire Heart winery proudly produced 10,000 bottles of wine in 2013:

Sparkling White Wine Non-Vintage 2012 (Gold medal wine) download tech sheet

Sparkling Rose Wine Non-Vintage 2012 download tech sheet

Eleanor White Wine (Bronze Medal Wine) download tech sheet

Winemakers White Wine download tech sheet

Claro White Wine (only produced in exceptional growing years) download tech sheet

English Red Wine download tech sheet

Winemakers Red Wine download tech sheet

Claro Red (only produced in exceptional growing years) download tech sheet

Still Rose Wine (Silver medal wine) download tech sheet

 

Our 2013 vintage has won us some amazing trophies at The Mercian Vineyard Association Awards in 2014, which were:

Gillian Spakouskas- Wine Maker of the Year

Best Sparkling Wine

Best Northern Wine

Best Label Design

Best Wine from Another Vintage

2012- The Yorkshire Heart winery proudly produced 3500 bottles of wine in 2012:

Sparkling White Wine Non-Vintage 2011

Eleanor White Wine

English Red Wine  

Still Rose Wine

2011- The Yorkshire Heart winery proudly produced 300 bottles of wine in 2011:

Eleanor White Wine

English Red Wine  

Still Rose Wine

The Wine Making Process At Yorkshire Heart

Much to people’s disbelief all of our wines are produced in our own winery from grapes grown in the vineyard at Nun Monkton. We harvest in September/ October every year by hand with the grapes being sorted so only the highest quality ones go in to the winery The next stage is the gentle pressing of the grapes with the free run juice being collected for the best wines.

We add cultivated yeast to ferment the must, this takes a few weeks. The wines are then racked in to fresh tanks to remove sediments and stop yeast flavours from developing, this process is done a couple of times over the winter period. The wines are then ready to be filtered and bottled ready for May the following year from harvesting (2015 harvested grapes will be ready to sell from Spring/Summer 2016).

Producing Sparkling Wines is a bit more complicated

Once the base wine is made it is then re-fermented [usually January time] We adding sugar and yeast before bottling and sealing the wine with a crown cap It is then kept at a constant temperature of approximately 15 degrees for the next 8 weeks followed by 11 degrees for a further 7 months. The wine then goes through the process of neck freezing & degorging followed by dosage, corking, wire muzzling, it is then dressed with its sleeve and label and ready for sale. (2015 harvested grapes will be ready to sell end of 2016-early 2017 so it is a lot slower process for the sparkling wines)

Our Grapes At Yorkshire Heart

The Yorkshire Heart team are committed to the highest standards, using sustainable practises and producing wines to enjoy. Here is a list of the grapes we grow at Yorkshire Heart Vineyard.

White GrapesBlack Grapes

Solaris A white fruity variety specially bred for northern Europe, this is our largest variety planted

Ortega A German Vitus viniferous, fruity with white blossom flavours

Siegreebe A German Vitus vinifera, in good summers makes wonderful desert wines

Seyval Blanc A French variety specially planted to make sparkling wines

Schonburger A German variety which is being replanted due to failure to grow in very wet conditions of the last few years

Bacchus This is the typical English wine grape variety

Madeleine Angevine A French variety which has proved over the years to love the Yorkshire climate

Chardonnay We have a small parcel in hope that it will ripen and enjoy Yorkshire life!

Pinot Gris A lovely French grape with great flavours.

Pinot Noir A Burgundy clone which is proving to be an excellent choice

Rondo Our main red grape variety; again this is specially bred for northern Europe

Regent A quality grape similar to cabernet grape

Dornfelder A German grape that has deep colour and flavour

Acolon A recent variety bred for good colour and flavour in northern Europe

Gamay A lovely Beaujolais grape

Cabernet Franc A French variety from the Loire valley

Cabernet Cortis A new French variety we are trialling.