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Cat and James co founders Burnt House Vineyard in Suffolk

Winery Profile

Burnt House Vineyard

The brother and sister team putting Suffolk wines on the map.
“If there’s a restaurant that says all their food is locally sourced and their wine is from France  … come on, what’s going on … we’re here screaming at you with top quality wine from England.”

James is one half of the brother and sister team behind Burnt House Vineyard in Suffolk. His sister Cat, who is due to have a baby in October, is the other half of the team. And they are working around the clock to realise their ambitions. And this isn’t just about getting their wines listed at the best restaurants in the area. As Cat says: This is about us thinking of the future. We need to make sure we can keep sustaining everything. It’s all about balance.”

The gorgeous Burnt House tasting barn is based in mid Suffolk in the pretty Gipping Valley. Driving up to meet Cat and James on a sunny afternoon in July I get memories of my California wine days at Roberson Wine. The tasting room is a large open space and has modern canteen dining vibes: stunning polished concrete floor, leather sofas and wooden tables. Beautiful windows slide open to a view of the vineyard, which is just a few meters away. “When people visit us, we want them to find a calm, relaxed place. Take in the view.  Enjoy the wines. Discover the fantastic places in Suffolk.

“Wine can sometimes be a bit overwhelming for people.  They think they should know all about the grapes and the soil. And they can get intimidated. But wine should be an accessible thing and should be shared with people.  At the end of the day, we are a family business, and we want that to come across.”  When we visit there are a group of women celebrating a 40th birthday, families with kids on the picnic tables by the vineyard and tables of couples of all ages. Mission accomplished.

English Still Wines

From the heart of Suffolk

Burnt House Vineyard produces around 10,000 bottles a year. They make a small batch of English Sparkling Wine, but their specialism is still wine. Their Bacchus, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier Rosé sells out every year. They are launching their first English Pinot Noir in 2023.

Suffolk is being tipped as the English wine region to watch.

Burnt House Vineyard vines in Suffolk

But while Cat and James create a very relaxed vibe … their approach to wine making is anything but.

They planted their first Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier vines in 2017 followed by a small plot of Bacchus in 2019. At just 5 hectares, this is by any reckoning a micro vineyard. They will produce just 10,000 bottles of Burnt House wines this year. But while they have plans to double in size over the next 5 years, their focus will remain on quality. And they are well placed to do that. Suffolk borders Essex which is now well recognised as one of the best places in the country to produce English still wine.

Known as “sunny Suffolk” it shares similar characteristics to its neighbours. Clay soil, slightly warmer temperatures, and less rainfall than the rest of the country make it a great place to ripen grapes for still wine. Famed wine critic Oz Clarke is tipping Suffolk as THE region to watch.  Add to this James’ vast experience in farming “we’re heavy into regen ag” and their passion for sustainability – they are in the process of getting Wine GB sustainability accreditation” this sibling duo promise great things. We’d wager that it won’t be long before Burnt House Vineyard is being listed in the best restaurants in the area. Just make sure you buy some for your own table before they sell out.

If you love white Burgundy, try this.

Burnt House Vineyard 2022 Chardonnay is a crisp dry white with a lovely succulence of pure stone fruit and a moreish mineral edge. If you close your eyes you could be in the South of Burgundy: think Cote Chalonnaise or the Maconnaise.

It’s an excellent aperitif wine and also works really well with pan fried seasonal fish or lightly creamy chicken and pasta dishes. Here we’ve paired it with creamy ribbons of parsnip topped with toasted English walnuts and shavings of Twineham Grange cheese.

Burnt House Chardonnay paired with creamy parsnip pasta