About Our Norfolk Winery
‘A family-run artisan winemaker, striving for quality’
Since planting the first vines at Chet Valley Vineyard over a decade ago, owners John and Bridget Hemmant have worked tirelessly to manage the Norfolk winery with a uniquely sustainable philosophy, deeply rooted in respect for the natural elements of winemaking and their beautiful environment. On-site, they maintain complex permaculture – carefully optimising field space and growing a variety of plants and crops, whilst marrying technical expertise with a unique sensitivity to the grape in the winery. The result? A gorgeous natural space for visitors to explore, and a range of equally sustainable wine, and delectable bottles.
The Chet Valley winery’s experienced winemaker balances long-established tradition with a solid foundation of chemistry knowledge to create the finest English wines on the market. Whilst carefully optimised techniques and scientific study significantly impact the production of our wine, we follow a uniquely sustainable philosophy from planting to corking, aiming to respect the fruit and the natural elements of winemaking with minimum intervention.
We revel in the opportunity to challenge convention, researching and piloting a range of techniques used in UK winery’s and winemaking across Europe, before altering and optimising the most effective to meet our land and process’ unique requirements. By meeting European winemakers first hand and exploring processes most suited to the UK climate and terroir in our vineyard, we have and continue to develop a truly tailored methodology – an active fusion of tradition and science.
Careful thought by the winemaker can make the difference between good and excellent. Chet Valley strives for this excellence, both in production, product, and the winery experience.
History and Terroir
Previous generations of the Hemmant family farmed in Lincolnshire. John Hemmant’s family moved to Norfolk four generations ago, and during this time many Hemmants emigrated. One William Hemmant became a draper and politician in Queensland and was responsible for establishing the Queensland coat of arms, the motto of which is Audax at Fidelis, which means “bold but faithful”. This is our motto when winemaking. We like to take bold strides in technique and the use of varieties but remain faithful to the skills prevalent in the making of good wine.
The Hemmant family have held this land since the beginning of the century. Fred Hemmant, John’s great uncle, maintained a stable of horses which has imbued the soil with great organic content. Deeper down, the soil is sandy loam, gravel and pure sand. Below this is boulder clay. This terroir offers the grapes a well-drained soil that curbs excessive leaf formation and allows a loose soil structure perfect for worm activity and root formation. Each vine has a tap root that eventually hits the boulder clay, offering nutrition and an ample source of water for the vine.
The East Anglian climate offers purging frosts in the periods of dormancy over winter, which allows for the killing of vine diseases. In contrast, its summers bring more sunshine and higher temperatures than the rest of the UK on average, allowing the vineyard’s grapes to ripen well, with vintages that are very often determined by the weather in September and October. The area is prone to Indian Summers (meaning the arrival of a period of calm mild weather well into October), giving high sugar and aromaticity in the grapes, with low disease pressure.
The UK Winemaker
John Hemmant is a graduate chemist and proprietor vigneron, using a combination of influences of the new world winemakers and researchers, (particularly Professor Amerine of Davis University California) and old-world winemaking wisdom gained from numerous visits to winemakers of Germany, France and Italy. A member of WineGB and a true enthusiast, he periodically attends courses at the Plumpton Wine College, alongside online seminars to keep up with the latest techniques and developments in the wine industry.
Chet Winery Experience
Tours & Tastings
Discover the places and faces behind our award-winning wines from amongst the vines or from the comfort of your own home with our range of guided tour and tasting options.
Expert Winery Guide
All vineyard tours and wine tastings held at the Chet Valley winery are led by our experienced winemaker, who possesses an extensive understanding of and experience in both traditional and new winemaking techniques. John’s knowledge and storytelling give our guests the opportunity to gain valuable insight into every aspect of the winemaking process.
Sample Award-Winning Wines
Our heavily decorated wine range is the highlight of our tour and tasting experiences for many of our customers. With our options offering large samples or bottles of between four and six of our best-loved creations, you’re sure to discover a wide variety of delightfully unique tastes, from aromatic whites to fruit-forward rosés.
Experience the Vineyard from Anywhere
With both in-person and online tasting experiences available, the joy of winemaking at Chet Valley can truly be experienced from anywhere in the world – whether from amongst our sun-soaked vines in South Norfolk or from your own home with the assistance of a carefully curated virtual tasting kit and ZOOM session.
Browse Chet Valley Vineyard’s range of artisan still and sparkling English wines, handcrafted using distinct varieties of cool-climate grapes grown in our family-owned vineyard here in South Norfolk.
The grape varieties grown at Chet Valley Vineyard include Solaris, Phoenix, Schönburger, Chardonnay, and Seyval Blanc grown alongside reds such as Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, Cabernet Noir, and Regent, using traditional techniques optimised to our British terroir. From our award-winning Charmat-style ‘Skylark’ wines and flagship Méthode Champenoise, ‘Horatio’, to our varietal stills including our ‘Redwing’ regent rosé, there’s a bottle in our range to suit every palate.
2 weeks ago via Google
We recently tried Chet's delicious Red Kite wine for the first time and can thoroughly recommend it! A great treat, felt like we were temporarily on holiday! Looking forward to trying the Skylark too!
2 weeks ago via Google
John and Bridget were welcoming and engaging hosts for our wine tasting. Learnt lots on the tour and enjoyed tasting some really interesting wines. Left with several bottles! Would recommend.
a month ago via Google
We enjoyed a great afternoon at the Chet Valley Vineyard with an interesting tour and a fantastic tasting. Keep up the good work!
5 months ago via Google
We had a wonderful evening touring the vines and winery and learning about the wine making process. We also enjoyed tasting many of the delicious wines, along with a fabulous charcuterie spread. Bridget and John are very engaging and entertaining hosts and are passionate about the wine they are making, which shines through. We would highly recommend both the tour experience and the delicious wine.
5 months ago via Google
A wonderful place and wonderful wines. Skylark blush my particular favourite! John and Bridget are such welcoming and knowledgeable hosts. Thank you!