GRAPE AND GRAIN TRAIL

The Grape and Grain Trail has been created by Braintree District Council and Maldon District Council.

From Constable Country to the Crouch Valley, the Grape and Grain Trail will take you to independent local producers, many of which are family-run. Over the past decade, there has been an exponential growth of vineyards, breweries and distilleries in the region and this number will continue to rise in years to come. Enjoy a tour or a talk, where you can learn about how the products are made, and you can also give them a try yourself during a tasting session.

VINEYARDS

The region itself has a long history of wine production. For over eight hundred years, vineyards have existed due to the advantageous climate; the mild winters and hot dry summers help to produce high quality grapes with naturally high sugars. Grape varieties include Bacchus, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and more.

Many of the vineyards have won awards in both regional and national competitions, and they have a growing reputation within the country. Pre-book a visit to these vineyards to experience a tour or a tasting.

Open days, special events, tours and discount sales are also held throughout the year and over the festive period for you to enjoy with family and friends.
New Hall Vineyards, Purleigh
New Hall Vineyards, Purleigh
What makes us special - Crouch Ridge Vineyard’s 'Vine to Wine' story is born out of our love of fine wine & beautiful countryside. The grapes are grown in our vineyard situated in a spectacular part of the Crouch Valley Region, with stunning views over the River Crouch & unspoilt countryside. All our grapes go into making our sparkling & still wines available from the vineyard. We offer tours & tastings, wine & food pairings and wine events by appointment. We chose to plant chardonnay and pinot noir vines because these varieties are suited to the climate, soil and aspect of Althorne.

The vineyard is situated on a rural estate with established and new vines, a shop, Grade I Listed Barn, accommodation, walled gardens, woodland and alpacas. As the soil and climate are similar to Alsace, the grape variety of Bacchus was first planted in 1989. This produces fruity, aromatic wines of high quality which have won medals both regionally and nationally. In 2015, Pinot Noir grapes were planted and in 2016 Pinot Meunier and Seyval Blanc were planted. The wine is made at New Hall Vineyard, winning 'Wine Maker of the Year' 2012 and 2015.

Visitors are always welcome to visit us here at New Hall, England's oldest family-run vineyard of over 100 acres of vines. First established in 1969 by the Greenwood family, it is now run by second and third generations. The grape vines grown at New Hall are carefully selected and planted 12m to 24m above sea level, on well sheltered, southern facing slopes of a shallow valley. Over the years, the site has proven itself to be an almost ideal place for the growing of vines in England, producing above average crops of high quality grapes each year.
New Hall Vineyards, Purleigh
Award winning wines in a relaxed setting overlooking the beautiful Essex countryside and the Blackwater Valley beyond. Find out why English wines are becoming world class, enjoy one of our daily tastings which includes 6 wines and lasts about an hour or just relax with family and friends chilling out over a glass of wine and lunch. West Street has been open since 2013 and in 2017 the International Wine Challenge awarded West Street as a gold winner for their Cellar Door Award, the only gold winner in East Anglia.

CLAYHILL

All of our 15,530 vines have been planted by hand in 2006. We had our first harvest in 2009. We also make Essex Brandy and Toffee Liqueur. The grapes are grown here and then sent away to be distilled, which are then either aged in oak for the brandy or turned into the toffee liqueur. We have recently opened a tearoom, which is open at weekends for drinks and a slice of cake or maybe a sample or two whilst looking at the stunning views of the vineyards and across the River Crouch.
We are a modern, boutique vineyard and we produce elegant award-winning wines of the highest standard. Heritage and craftsmanship since 1910. We have been arable farmers for 6 generations and specialise in growing milling wheat and malting barley. These crops require a higher level of stewardship of farming than normal feed crops. In 2011 we planted 5 acres of Bacchus, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. We sell a range of award winning still and sparkling wines.
Crouch Ridge Vineyard, Althorne

BREWERIES

Wibblers Brewery
The breweries in the area are also winning regional and national awards and continue to expand their business. Many have their own micro-pubs and tap rooms, where you can enjoy hand-crafted real ales, beers, ciders and lagers.

As well as producing their standards throughout the year, they also offer seasonal and limited edition brews for you to try. Using high quality ingredients, they create a wide range of distinctive and unique flavours to suit every palate.

With new brews being produced every month, the breweries can experiment with balance, hoppiness, spice, sweetness and aromas, so there’s always something new for you to enjoy.
Microbrewery with onsite taproom and kitchen. Champion Stout of Great Britain 2015/16 Crafty Stoat has won GOLD in the Stout Class at CAMRA National Winter Festival. With events throughout the year and 'Be the Brewer' Days available where participants get fully hands-on with brewing a beer throughout the day. The full days programme will involve hot liquor treatment, mashing in, hop additions and much more also a 17 pint mini pin of the beer you made available for collection one week after your experience day. Unlike other many other Brewery Experiences you can have an input into the beer you brew!
Handcrafted real ales produced by the sixth generations of the Ridley brewing family of Essex. Cask ale and bottles available online, onsite and in outlets throughout the county. In 1842 Thomas Dixon Ridley built his brewery on the banks of the River Chelmer. It was here that the Ridleys’ great tradition of brewing was born. Over the next 163 years, six generations of Ridleys honed their skills and perfected their palettes to bring the people of Essex the best local brews. Today, Nelion Ridley takes up the mantle once more, and with his craft brewery ‘Bishop Nick’, is devoted to keeping Essex ales sacred.

Maldon Brewing Compant is a family-microbrewery in the heart of the historic town of Maldon, in Essex. Traditionally brewed real ales, created in small batches for maximum flavour. A selection of draft beers is always available, showcasing the Maldon Brewing Company and guest from London breweries amongst others. There are four draft beers on offer with five beer Friday for that extra choice once a week. Farmer's Yard (our taproom) is the smallest pub in Maldon (and perhaps Essex?) with a public bar of only 3.4 x 3.6 metres, seating for 12 and standing for 12 – or perhaps more if you're good friends!

Farmer's Yard, Maldon Brewing Company
Established in 1996 in Brentwood, Essex and now brewing from the beautiful riverside market town of Maldon. You can sample our brews all over Essex but also further afield in Cambs, Herts, Worcester, Kent and London. Burntwood Bitter, our first beer is still recognised as one of the best bitters in the country. Maldon Gold, first brewed following our move to Maldon in January 2001, is our best selling beer and in 2007 was voted not only the Best Golden Ale in Britain but also the overall second best ale in the country, by CAMRA.
Microbrewery producing fine artisan, handcrafted ales with brewery shop selling bottle conditioned real ales and polypins. Silks Brewery is a five barrel micro brewery producing a fine range of hand crafted real ales in small batches. The brewery is a traditional Real Ale brewery with wooden clad stainless steel vessels. The brewery is based on a North Essex farm in a converted old grain store. Brewing began in late 2015 using the finest English malts and with the best character hops to produce beers of lasting impression.
We have always brewed high quality distinctive beers and from the very beginning we set out to continue to brew consistently high quality distinctive beers; and are very proud to have won 40+ significant regional, national and international awards so far including twice winning Champion Winter Beer of Britain with our famous dark Porter Old Growler, recognising the hard work, skill and dedication of our Brewery team. In 2012 we were very excited to be awarded the prestigious Good Pub Guide Brewery of the Year award.
Farmer's Yard, Maldon Brewing Company
Shalford Brewery is a five barrel microbrewery built and installed at a farm in the Pant Valley in Essex, brewing commenced in July 2007. Using finest malt, hops and the yeast Brewer tries to create interesting and different as well as traditional real ales for the discerning real ale drinker. You can sample our beers at local pubs and beer festivals and also purchase them in local shops. We offer a small range of beers which includes a mild and ‘Levelly Black’ which is described as 'a dark heavy well hopped ale with grainy toffee taste topped with a thick creamy head'.

DISTILLERIES

Mighty Oak Brewery, Maldon
Distiller of eau de vies and brandies from wine, malts from wort, vodka, gin, liqueuer, rum and sambuca. Tours are available on weekends. The site is wheelchair accessible. There is also a bookable venue with a fully licensed bar. Tastings are also available. The shop in Dullington is open. In the past several years we have won nearly sixty international medals for ourselves and customers, including best gin, best vodka and best rum in the world. We offer a range of cocktail ideas for the best ways to sample our delicious spirits.
New Hall Vineyards, Purleigh

CONNECT WITH US

Maldon District Tourist Information Centre

Specially trained staff at the Maldon District Tourist Information Centre and the Burnham-on-Crouch Tourist Information Centre are on hand to offer expert and friendly advice to help you make the most of your visit. Situated in the centres of Maldon and Burnham-on-Crouch, the two TICs offer a selection of free guides and brochures to help you understand and appreciate this unique area.