Press Articles
3) Harrogate Advertiser / Wetherby News 17/01/13

By Tom Hay

Wetherby wine enthusiasts looking to increase their grape smarts might want to contact John Butterwick. The independent wine expert, who has been giving talks and lectures in the area for the last two decades, is starting up a series of wine workshops in the town. He has been running similar classes in Boston Spa and South Milford for a few years. The Wetherby evening sessions will take place on the fourth Wednesday of each month, starting this month and running until June. It's billed as a relaxed and informal group, tasting up to eight wines each session. Themes will include comparing Old World and New World styles, cool-climate wines, Mediterranean wines and, in June, a visit to Yorkshire Heart Vineyard in Nun Monkton. If you're interested or want to find out more, you can email John at or call him on 07910 720439.

2) Yorkshire Post 08/12/12

CLASS ACT by Christine Austin

Wine tutor John Butterwick launches a new set of wine classes in Wetherby in January. Each session costs £10.50 and the monthly meetings will cover topics such as Old World v New World; Mediterranean wines and cool climate wines. Contact him on 07910 720439.

1) Harrogate Advertiser / Wetherby News 23/03/12

by John Butterwick
With all the current talk of global warming, Britain seems to be on the brink of becoming a serious wine-producing nation. The number of vineyards in England and Wales is increasing; a wide range of white, rosé and even red wines is now being made; and parts of SE England are producing sparkling wines to rival those from Champagne. But it hasn’t always been like this.
The history of winemaking in the UK has been a rollercoaster of a journey, all started with the Roman invasion in AD43. The Romans liked their wine and rather than have to arrange for supplies from Italy, they grew vines everywhere they settled.
After they left in the 4th century, many vineyards became attached to the monasteries. But successive invasions by Jutes, Angles, Saxons, Vikings and Danes, destroyed much of the civilisation that the Romans had left behind.
A major turning point came with the Norman Conquest which saw huge growth in vineyard activity. Many monks who came with the Conqueror were experienced vignerons and just 20 years later, the Domesday Book listed 42 vineyards in England. Britain was also entering a 300-year period of global warming and this encouraged the spread of vine growing.
But all good things must come to an end and this boom period was followed by centuries of decline. The Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1536 was the greatest single event that destroyed winemaking in England. The revival of English wine had to wait 400 years.
The planting in 1951 of the Hambledon vineyard in Hampshire marked another significant turning point. In the following decades, large numbers of vineyards were established and today there are almost 400 in the UK.
The Romans may not have brought the vine this far north, but it is known that the great Cistercian monastic houses at Fountains and Kirkstall, as well as the Benedictines of St Mary’s Abbey in York, were making wine here as late as the 16th Century.
In this area today, there are 4 sizeable vineyards producing an impressive range of Yorkshire wines:-
Leventhorpe (0113 288 9088) at Woodlesford, Leeds:- three whites and a sparkling wine are available from Fodder or Weetons in Harrogate, Cairns & Hickey in Bramhope and Latitude in Leeds.
Yorkshire Heart (01423 330716) at Nun Monkton, York:- white, rosé, red and sparkling wines can be sourced through Ainsty Farm Shop, Kirk Hammerton. Yorkshire Heart also brew their own beers.
Ryedale Vineyard (01653 658507) at Westow, near Malton:- white, rosé, red and sparkling wines – as well as cider – can be found at Castle Howard Farm Shop, along with 3 whites, 2 reds and a sparkling wine from Summerhouse Vineyard at Skellow near Doncaster.
(The vineyards also sell their wines direct, although it is advisable to telephone first rather than just turn up.)
Our generation is fortunate to be witnessing this revival and we can reward the hard work of this dedicated group of people by tasting and enjoying their wines.

John Butterwick (trading as Winetalks) can be found at
You can contact John at with all your wine questions.