A PROJECT to establish Maldon and Dengie’s vineyards as an internationally-renowned wine region is progressing.

It is hoped wine buffs could soon be flocking to the district for tours and tastings 12 months after plans were first revealed.

The district has eight vineyards, including four which are open to the public, and grows 84 per cent of all the grapes produced in Essex.

Maldon District Council is supporting the scheme, which vineyard owners hope will encourage people to visit the area.

Dale Symons, owner of Clayhill Vineyard, approached the council with the idea after a conversation with other owners last year.

Mr Symons said: “We are still keen to push ahead with this and work collaboratively.

“We want to push the area forward as a wine growing region.

“There are 11 vineyards in the CM postcode area which includes the west and south of Maldon.

“The vineyards are growing grapes for wineries throughout the UK with four making their own wines.

"We should have three vineyards open to the public next year and that will start the push the idea.”

Mr Symons said with more vineyards expanding with shops and warehouses it is easier to promote the area as a wine region.

The vineyards will look to offer tours and other linked events.

He added: “We are already pushing the Crouch Valley region and hopefully that is what people will come here for.”