A PLUCKY band of volunteers hope everything will go just ‘vine’ when they help harvest more than seven tonnes of grapes this weekend.

Harvest day at the award-winning Toppesfield Vineyard has become an important event on the village calendar.

More than 60 members of the community have signed up for the event.

Clutching their secateurs, the volunteers will be rolling up their sleeves early on Saturday morning and picking this year’s Bacchus grapes.

The village has a reputation for its amazing community spirit.

It was named Essex village of the year in 2016 and and boasts a shop, pub and micro-brewery which are all community-run

The vineyard harvest brings young and old alike together to celebrate a traditional ritual which dates back 2,000 years to when the Romans grew grapes on the site

The boutique vineyard was set up by Jane and Peter Moore in 2011 and has gone from strength to strength.

Earlier this year they opened a plush new wine-tasting centre overlooking the rows of vines where visitors can enjoy a glass of their award-winning rosé, or Bacchus white wine.

Jane and Peter have been testing the grapes every other day in the weeks running up to the harvest.

They have to pick exactly the right moment to get the correct balance of sugars and acidity to make the perfect wine.

Peter says waiting for the fruit to ripen is “nailbiting stuff”.

He said: “It’s an exciting time, and we are out among the vines in rain or shine throughout the year making sure the grapes are thriving.

“Essex is the best area in the country for growing grapes because the climate is the hottest and driest”.

A tonne of grapes will produce roughly 1,000 bottles.

The size of the harvest has rocketed from just a few crates in the first year.

Last year it took 70 volunteers five hours to pick a whopping 11 tonnes of fruit from the vines after a record-breaking hot summer.

This year the harvest is expected to be about seven tonnes.

Once picked, the grapes are then sent to the winery where they are pressed and made into the vineyard’s award-winning wine.

As a reward for their hard work, the pickers are treated to community baked cakes by Claire and Clare, and a slap-up harvest lunch, all washed down with wine from last year’s harvest.

Jane said: “We are thrilled at the success of the vineyard, but also with the way we are able to bring together the community and enjoy the outdoors together.

“It’s amazing the response we’ve had to all we do here, and to the wine itself.”