Grape News


Once again the English summer provided us with the usual ‘roller coaster’ of weather, but in the end the highs of the season were to occur at exactly the times required to produce some exceptional fruit, and the lows were to prove inconsequential to our reaching again enormous levels of ripeness across all the ‘classic’ grape varieties for which this vineyard has become so widely known.

May had seen no rain whatsoever in the Crouch Valley with record hours of sunshine and fortunately the very late frosts that beset so much of southern England in the second week of that month left us alone again in this protected up river location.

This period was to be critical in bringing the vines into early flower during late June and early July and, whilst these summer months were not in themselves remarkable, come early August we were to experience a spell of very hot weather with more than a week in which we saw daily temperatures in excess of 30 degrees C.

By the end of August it briefly became unseasonably cool, but then September, as so often, delivered the ideal late summer conditions that consolidated all that had preceded and confirmed our optimism of something very special still to come. Even one of the wettest Octobers on record in these parts was not able to undo the high ripeness we were already seeing develop in the fruit.

Early ripening varieties like Bacchus and Pinot Noir Précoce were harvested in late September and the 97Oe (13.2% potential alcohol) of the early Pinot Noir boded well for what was to follow. By the time harvest was completed on 23 October the Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris had all been collected in and were recording ripeness levels ranging from 92Oe to 99Oe (12.5% to 13.6% potential alcohol), a remarkable result by any standard for this country.

Yields on our Chardonnay clones were much as anticipated, whilst the Bacchus at more than 6 tonnes/acre was an exceptional crop, as was the quality of the fruit. Yields on all the Pinot varieties were lower this year than expectations, but this was more than compensated by the soaring levels of ripeness across all the classic grape varieties.

Inevitably the Martin’s Lane fruit was again in huge demand by wine producers across the country, but more wines under the Martin’s Lane own label will also be produced from this year’s fruit, including a first Pinot Noir, a Pinot Noir Précoce and a Chardonnay to replace our iconic 2016 vintage made solely from aromatic clones.

We hope it will now be worth the wait for some outstanding 2020 wines to come.

Where to find our Wines

Since release to the trade of the first Martin’s Lane wines at the beginning of 2016 the partners have been overwhelmed at the response received. We are delighted to have been chosen to supply our wines to many premium restaurants in Essex, East Anglia and the West End of London.

We are proud to announce that our wines are now available in the following establishments:

London, West End

Emilia Restaurant - located in the heart of Mayfair within Bonhams’ flagship London saleroom the dining experience at Emilia Restaurant draws inspiration from Emilia-Romagna the culinary heartland of Italy and aims to pay homage to that region and its food culture whilst also reflecting all that one would expect at one of the capital’s premium restaurants with the very finest British produce, a broad and wonderfully selected wine list and an engaging and highly knowledgeable staff.

MASH Modern American Steak House - located in Soho’s Brewer Street, the restaurant’s breath-taking art deco interior makes the MASH dining experience an unforgettable one where steaks can be sampled from the finest beef in the world enjoyed alongside one of the great wine lists of the capital.

East Anglia/Essex Border

The Great House, Lavenham, Suffolk - set in the mediaeval splendour of the magnificent Market Place, this award winning 3 AA Rosette boutique French cuisine restaurant is regarded as one of the finest provincial dining locations in East Anglia.

Le Talbooth, Dedham - nestling alongside Constable’s River Stour, Le Talbooth’s stunning and highly prestigious riverside restaurant provides an unrivalled dining experience with award winning cuisine in an idyllic rural setting with fine views across the countryside of the Essex/Suffolk border.


The Prince of Wales, Stow Maries – On the doorstep of Martin’s Lane Vineyard this 17th-century weatherboarded pub has three cosy drinking and dining areas with an extensive garden to the rear. ‘The Prince’ is a much favoured watering hole for locals and the many walkers in the area and is renowned for its home cooked foods and legendary range of beers from home and abroad.

Rob Walster is celebrating his 30th year running the establishment and he and his wife Lynn organise many special events through the year the best known being the spectacular firework display on the last Saturday in October. There is a separate family and function room along with high standard accommodation available.

Alec’s, Navestock Side, Brentwood – a lovingly restored former public house situated in this historic Essex countryside clearing, Alec’s has become one of most sought-after restaurants in this area of the county excelling in fish and seafood specialities within its extensive and impressive menu.

Haywards, Epping – situated on the edge of the historic and beautiful Epping Forest, Haywards has employed innovative and modern European culinary techniques using seasonal and local produce at its very best to create an unforgettable and unique dining experience in the most friendly and stylish environment.

Vita Bella, East Hanningfield - situated on the Tye in the picturesque village of East Hanningfield, this beautifully restored former public house is nowadays home to the highly acclaimed Vita Bella restaurant, an oasis of fine dining excelling in classic Italian cuisine combining local produce and supported by unrivalled service from its highly knowledgeable staff.

The Fox and Hounds, Ramsden Heath - Nestled in Ramsden Heath in Essex, this pub/restaurant was a finalist in the Essex Life Food & Drink Awards 2018 in the Best Essex Pub category. With their menu of quality dishes sourced from local suppliers, local beers and large marquee for public and private events, this is a fine country pub that’s going places!

The owners, Mark & Sarah Hood spent a day at the vineyard recently and were so impressed with what they saw and tasted that they are now stocking Martin’s Lane 2014 Sparkling Chardonnay and our still 2016 Chardonnay. They intend adding more of our range as they continue to progress.

The Green Apron Cookery School, Coggeshall - The Green Apron is based in the home kitchen of a beautiful 1870s house in the heart of the historic village of Coggeshall on the Essex and Suffolk border. Run by Leith’s trained, experienced caterer and home cook Claire Barham – the aim of the cookery school is to help participants build confidence in the kitchen and learn new skills – whatever their current level of ability. Using fresh, seasonal ingredients, The Green Apron also runs corporate lessons and provides outside catering for tailored events.

Claire uses predominantly local suppliers, and selected Martin’s Lane to provide the majority of the wines used to accompany the finished meals produced during the cookery lessons.

West Street, Coggeshall - set in its own beautiful vineyard surroundings in this most picturesque Essex village, West Street has quickly established itself as a restaurant of the highest repute winning plaudits for its ethos of fabulous local foods and the very best of English wines.


All our wines are also available through retail sale and may be ordered by email using See our Wines page for pricing details.

Vineyard Visits

We have continued to receive enquiries about visits to Martin’s Lane vineyard, many from wine clubs and societies.

We do not have a programme of visiting times, but for those interested in visiting the vineyard please contact us as we are happy to organise something tailor-made for individual groups (normally 8 to 10 persons minimum). Click here to contact us by email or alternatively telephone us to discuss your specific requirements and we would be pleased to provide an estimate of cost.

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Martin’s Lane Estates (Stow Maries) LLP
Registered in England Partnership No OC337925 Registered Office: Trinity Street Halstead Essex CO9 1JE