A VINEYARD on the outskirts of York is one of only four in the UK to receive Gold accreditation in a national awards scheme as it makes plans to expand next year.

Yorkshire Heart Vineyard and Brewery, based at Nun Monkton, has been awarded a gold medal in the International Wine Challenge 2018 Cellar Door of the Year awards.

The business was among hundreds of applicants for the awards, and was not only one of just four Gold Award Winners, but the only vineyard from the north of England as the three other counterparts were from Kent, Surrey and Essex.

The Cellar Door of the Year awards are run by the International Wine Challenge, in partnership with VisitEngland. They award the most successful cellar door attractions throughout the country who deliver an outstanding service to wine consumers.

Owners of Yorkshire Heart, husband and wife duo Chris and Gillian Spakouskas, said: “We could not be more delighted to be recognised with the best vineyards in the country, we are so very proud of our team and what we have all achieved.”

Since first planting at their vineyard on their family farm in Nun Monkton in 2006 the business and its team has continued to grow from strength to strength. Yorkshire Heart boasts 14 acres planted with 22,000 vines, which have produced 30,000 bottles of award winning wine from grape to glass within its own winery, 12,000 bottles of which is the brand’s hugely popular Quality English Sparkling White & Rose Wines.

The vineyard has also seen visitor numbers treble over the last three years, as varying groups of people take advance of tours encompassing Yorkshire Heart’s English wines within picturesque surroundings alongside tasting. The business has developed its own visitor centre The Wine House alongside a retail outlet at the vineyard selling their English wines, and bottled beers from the firm’s neighbouring brewing operations.

Yorkshire Heart has further diversified in hosting weddings and functions.

The business is gearing up for further growth with plans for a further three acres of land to be planted with an additional 4,000 vines in 2019 concentrating.

The new vines will focus on the red wine varieties in a bid to grow Yorkshire Heart’s range.

The family run firm says it also has plans for further development in both the brewery and event side of the business.

The brewery side of the business is kept in the family and is run by Chris and Gillian’s son, Tim.