Toasting a better future is Yorkshire Heart, a family-run vineyard and brewery, just outside York.

Initially, the vineyard at Nun Monkton was just a hobby for Chris and Gillian Spakouskas, who had both operated milk rounds in York for 30 years.

The work complimented each other well, with milk rounds in the morning and workin on the vines in the afternoon.

Chief winemaker Gillian started with just 35 vines on an acre supplying family and friends.

But now Yorkshire Heart is a thriving business with 25,000 vines planted across 16 acres. The most recent plantings were two acres in Spring 2022.

Their son Tim and his wife Georgina helped out and eventually gave up their own landscaping gardening business to work full-time at Yorkshire Heart.

In 2011, the pair launched the Yorkshire Heart Brewery, which has a 12-barrel plant and bottling line just up the road from the vineyard.

Tim is manager and chief brewer at the micro-brewery, making craft ales, pilsners and stouts.

The award-winning ales are made from water from the family's own natural spring and are available to buy in casks, polypins and bottles.

Last year Yorkshire Heart launched Yorkshire Heart Brandy, using grapes grown at the vineyard and distilled at Harrogate Tipple.

For some years the vineyard had operated tours, but as the country came out of lockdown, it opened a café and restaurant in May 2021.

It also hosts an annual festival, there continues to be regular tours and tastings and glamping and camping is available from April to September.

Tim says the brewery is launching new beers and there will also be new wines coming out in 2023.

One is the vineyard's first 'orange' wine, a white wine where the grape skins and seeds are left in contact with the juice to create the orange colour.

In 2024, a premium sparkling white will add to the existing sparkling white, rose and red range.

Tim said: "As our vines become more mature, we can make a more prestigious sparkling wine.

Whilst Yorkshire Heart and other English Vineyards work on their vines to make them more adaptable to our cool climate, climate change helps.

"It's been a brilliant year for grapes this year. The vines started growing well in the Spring, which featured a dry spell. Then, at the end of summer, the rain helped swell the grapes at the right time, giving a good quality and quantity of grapes."

Altogether, some 40 tonnes of grapes were harvested, enough to produce 45,000 bottles.

Looking ahead, 3-4 further acres will be planted, strengthening Yorkshire as a centre for winemaking, which has 7 commercial vineyards.

Tim added: "There's a real buzz around English wine. It once had a bad reputation but as people spent money on equipment, it meant a much better product. The future is fizzing."

Yorkshire Heart can be found here.