AN award-winning vineyard has been forced to go virtual after the new coronavirus restrictions hindered its business.

Tuffon Hall vineyard, at Castle Hedingham, is one of the county’s top wine-makers. It recently scooped top prizes at the Wines of Great Britain Awards and the London Wine Competition.

But despite their success, the coronavirus pandemic has made it a difficult year for the business.

The virus had an immediate impact in March when social distancing and other restrictions played havoc with the wedding industry.

Venues such as Tuffon Hall were hit hard when brides and grooms were forced to postpone their big days.

As a result, the vineyard moved to boost wine sales and stepped up visits to the vineyard for tours and wine tastings.

Tastings at Tuffon Hall have proved popular with wine fans visiting to enjoy the vineyard’s wines and gin.

But the wine tastings have suffered a further blow following the introduction of new tier two Covid restrictions in Essex.

Tuffon Hall bosses have been forced to call off in-house wine tastings.

However, the vineyard has now moved its popular tastings online.

Wine buffs can book a place for £60, which includes a pack of three wines or gins, including a bottle of multi-award winning Bacchus white wine.

It was recently crowned ‘Wine of the Year’ in East Anglia.

Once customers have the wine, they can join an online tasting with vineyard owner Angus Crowther.

The tastings take place on Fridays throughout November and twice in December at 7.30pm.

Mr Crowther said: ‘We’ve been really pleased with how well the online tastings have been going.

“Our customers are sent out a pack of three different wines or gins and we talk through each with a tasting sheet, have a laugh, and also talk about people’s favourite wines. Companies have also been showing a lot of interest as it is a lovely alternative to the Christmas party.”

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