John Whittingdale opened the new wine shop and tea room attached to Clayhill Vineyard on Lower Burnham Road. The business is owned by Dale and Vicky Symons who first planted the vines in 2006. It now produces approx 50 tonnes of grapes per annum and more than 4,000 bottles of wine have so far been produced.
The new building is a converted barn with a new cellar to allow expanded production. It benefited from a grant of £38,000 from the Essex Rivers LEADER programme funded through the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and which is managed by the Rural Community Council of Essex. The £95,000 project will ultimately create an additional 2.2 full time jobs and will create a tourist destination in an area which is becoming a centre of wine-making.