THE North East’s first urban winery aims to change people’s views of English wines.

Based in Team Valley, Laneberg Wine is the most northerly winery in the UK and released its first vintage of white and rosé wines this year, using grapes grown at a vineyard in Leicestershire.

Its Bacchus 2018 white wine won medals at the Wine GB Awards and the International Wine And Spirits Competition and work is about to start on its next vintage, made from English grapes.

Laneberg Wines has worked with NEL Fund Managers to secure £35,000 from the North East Small Loan Fund supported by The European Regional Development Fund to recruit and train a wine-making apprentice.

It will also help the company expand its range of wines for 2020, including producing its first red and sparkling wines, while holding public events and tastings at the winery also form part of the business’s longer-term aims.

Laneberg Wines are stocked in retailers including Fenwick, Richard Granger in Jesmond and The Corbridge Larder and are on restaurant wine lists including The French Quarter in Newcastle, Bistro 46 in Jesmond and Sorella Sorella in Gateshead.

The company was set up by Elise Lane, who grew up in Newcastle before moving away 20 years ago to take a degree in chemistry at Oxford University. She developed an interest in and knowledge of wine-making alongside a corporate finance career and qualified as a winemaker, worked and taught at Plumpton College– the UK’s acknowledged wine-making centre for excellence. She and her family returned to the North East two years ago and started Laneberg.

Ms Lane said: "The quality of English wine has never been better, and that is reflected in the terrific response that we’ve had to our first products from both stockists and consumers.

“We had a fantastic crop of grapes to work with in 2018 which enabled us to produce some stand-out wines, and we’re extremely proud to have won both national and international recognition for our very first vintage.

“We want Laneberg Wines to become a staple part of North East wine drinkers’ list of favourites, and we’re working towards widening the range that we produce to ensure we’re appealing to lots of different types of customers.

“We’ve learned a great deal over the last couple of years, both about the wines we’re making and the ways in which we can bring them to market, and the prospects for this year’s vintage look extremely strong on both fronts.

“Accessing investment from a fund that is solely focused on our region was very appealing to us, and the NEL team helped make the application process smooth and straightforward.”