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Award winning wines produced right here in Derbyshire

Award winning wines produced right here in Derbyshire

Derbyshire is a county that produces some of the country’s greatest products and each month we feature one of Derbyshire’s best independent producers. 

It’s just getting interesting again for Darley Abbey based wine maker, Kieron Atkinson. After a couple of weeks of ‘quieter’ times post-Christmas, Kieron’s gearing up for the announcement of the latest international wine award. This time it’s him up against some global winemaking ‘heavyweights’ from the southern hemisphere, competing for the coveted Wine Maker of the Year award, chosen by Naked Wines. If Kieron wins, he will be the first ever English wine producer to earn the accolade. After over a decade of winning multiple awards for his wines, you might think they become less special over time…?

“Absolutely not!” Kieron clarifies; “every award I am nominated for is special to me and each time I win an accolade for the wine I produce, I feel really proud of what I’ve been able to achieve from here in Derbyshire; not the usual place you would expect to see an award winning winery!”

Kieron left the army in 2010 after serving tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, deciding to start a totally different career in wine production and vineyard management. After graduating from Plumpton College to gain a second degree, he hasn’t stopped. 

The English Wine Project was established to allow Kieron to produce the best possible English wine, made from grapes grown here in Derbyshire  at the historic and wonderfully atmospheric Renishaw Hall Estate in North Derbyshire. Kieron conducts vineyard tours in the spring to autumn months which visitors love as well as running courses in grape growing, pruning and the annual harvest. 

“We have lots of fun harvesting. It really is what the wine growing year is all about,” Kieron explains. “Seeing people getting stuck in to harvest, hauling juicy grapes into crates and enjoying the fruits of their labour all together is great to experience.”

There are also tours of the urban English Wine Project Winery throughout the year, based in the attractive mills at Darley Abbey on the edge of Derby. On a winery tour, visitors see the process of wine making up close; enjoying tasting multiple wines, and ciders (also an award-winning venture of Kieron’s) which can be paired with foods and – sometimes – live music. The rustic yet urban setting of the winery, on the banks of the River Derwent as it flows towards Derby city centre, is really unique. 

“We really enjoy people dropping in to see us for a glass or bottle of wine by the river and the tours are great fun. People find out so much about the science behind wine, but also they come away having tasted delicious wines made right here by grapes that haven’t travelled far. We make a truly English product about which we should be really proud!” states Kieron. 

The range of English Wine Project wines include: 

Renishaw Hall Vintage Cuvée white and pink – Trophy medal winning – traditional method sparkling wine.

Renishaw Hall Walled Garden White, Rosé and Red – A real hero wine range for us that sells out almost as soon as it’s in a bottle.

Mills & Hills Bacchus and Pinot Noir – Mills & Hills is my own best of English label. For these wines I am working with the best growers in the UK, from the increasingly famed Crouch Valley in Essex through to Worcestershire. 

Kieron started producing cider in 2020 and now has four ciders in the range under the labels; Even Cider, King and Queen of the Orchard and soon to be joined by Buck Cider. These ciders are proving to be successful with pubs, deli’s and farm shops across the region. 

“At the winery we offer a totally distinctive experience for birthday parties, group tours, work events or simply get-togethers with friends, where you want to enjoy your own private space doing something special and memorable. People always have loads of fun and enjoy quality drinks at the same time as learning something new about wines, ciders and their production. We’re always happy to deliver orders to customers’ doors,”
describes Kieron. 

So, as Kieron waits to hear on this latest global wine award, he’s busy down at the winery, preparing the 2023 wine for their next step ready to be released – and relished – in early summer 2024

To order award winning English Wine Project wines and ciders produced entirely by Kieron, visit


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