Tucked away in the East Devon countryside, just outside the village of Shute.

The Lyme Bay Winery is set apart from most drinks manufacturers in the marketplace because of its distinctive style (including gaining inspiration from the wines traditionally made from hedgerow fruits and flowers), the quality of its production, and the consistency with which it is produced.

Celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2012, The Lyme Bay Winery began by producing traditional Devon cider. All the apples used in the cider come from a local farm and are pressed and fermented in a time-honoured and traditional manner: two years ago the company won a national award for its Jack Ratt cider, named after the legendary beer smuggler Jack Rattenbury.

Today, of course, the company offers a broad portfolio of products, taking in a delicious range of fruit and cream liqueurs, a wide variety of wines (including both lighter, drier wines and more intense, old-fashioned berry-rich varieties, produced using fruits and juices often sourced locally in Dorset), and a range of preserves and chutneys to complement its wines, ciders and liqueurs. Cider brandy, supplied by The Somerset Cider Brandy Company, and Otter Ales (some of the most popular beers in the West Country) are also available.

It’s a selection of products that is becoming increasingly popular too, with discerning customers not only throughout the UK, but also as far away as Canada, taking in everyone from farm shops, delicatessens and food halls through to selling direct to the consumer. So it’s no surprise that The Lyme Bay Winery is investing in a new 6000ft2 production plant, with initial production envisaged to be around 65,000 bottles per year.

This is being fuelled by the company’s decision to make its own grape wines after planting 25,000 vines on land at Cotleigh and Watchcombe, near Colyton. This means that a new winery and storage/warehousing, along with extra parking, is required, with the new building becoming the main production facility, enabling the existing building to revert to the bottling plant.

The vines take three years to come into production and the first crop will be harvested in the autumn of 2012. A blend of Pinot Noir and Sayval Blanc grapes will be used to create a sparkling wine, while Bacchus grapes will produce a still, dry, white wine.

And the awards keep coming! Of all the UK’s food award schemes, The Great Taste Awards is the most important, being to speciality food & drink what Michelin is to fine dining. So it is particularly gratifying for The Lyme Bay Winery that in 2011 it picked up a variety of awards, including Two-Star Gold’s for Strawberry Wine, Mulled Wine & Spicy Tomato Chutney! Raspberry & Apple Wine, Mulled Cider, Butterscotch Cream Liqueur and Vintage Marmalade also won One-Star Gold Awards.

To find out more about this award-winning portfolio of products, telephone 01297 551355. You can also buy direct online by visiting www.lymebaywinery.co.uk. Or if you are lucky enough to live locally to The Lyme Bay Winery, its shop offers the complete range of products plus a wide selection of locally produced food and drinks. However you decide to get in touch, you’ll be made very welcome.

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