A VINEYARD has been given permission to build a new wine warehouse and shop overlooking the River Crouch.

Crouch Ridge Vineyard, on Fambridge Road, Althorne, applied to Maldon District Council to build the new agricultural style building earlier this year.

At a meeting of the council’s south eastern area planning committee on Monday the plans were approved.

The site will include a wine warehouse, a wine tasting area, shop and office space.

The approval comes as Maldon District Council and vineyards on the Dengie are exploring promoting the area as an internationally renowned wine region to rival France and South Africa.

Owners Ross and Sam Lonergan said: “The new vineyard building will accommodate a cellar, shop and tasting room which will promote our established vineyard as a destination.

“We feel this will contribute to local tourism in the area and generate increased economic returns for the benefit of both us and other rural businesses.

“Currently we are very limited to one or two events a year where we can sell our wine directly to the public from the vineyard.

"These events are very weather dependant and are not sustainable for our business, as there are currently no buildings on the vineyard.”

Maldon District Council has also launched a Grape and Grain trail in conjunction with Braintree Council to promote the area’s wine and beer success.

Ross and Sam added: “Our ethos is that all the grapes grown at Crouch Ridge Vineyard are made into Crouch Ridge Estate Wine and sold directly to the public from our vineyard.

“This will create and keeps jobs in the area.

“This is a long term farm diversification project.

“We are fifth generation farmers in the Dengie and to keep the farm viable and profitable.

“We have diversified farm land at Althorne into Crouch Ridge Vineyard.”