Visit Essex are encouraging people to think of our fair county first when it comes to buying food and drink themed gifts for loved ones this Christmas.

Tourist bosses want to hammer home the message that Essex is awash with ideas for perfect presents.

“When it comes to wine Essex has around 15 vineyards throughout the county, and three of them produce the most amazing wine and have wine shops open weekdays and weekends (check times), for the general public to choose from,” said a Visit Essex spokesman.

“Newhall Vineyard in Purleigh for example, does wonderful ‘bubbles’ - champagne in all but name - Newhall Sparkling Brut.

“They have a Wine Sale over the weekend of December 1 and 2 too, opening up a wonderful Christmas themed barn (complete with Santa’s Grotto), and offering mulled wine and mince pies to all for FREE.

“West Street Vineyard and Dedham Vale Vineyard, also offer great wines from their Cellar shops."

Essex is also cashing in on the global gin craze and customers can buy a bottle of gin produced right here in the county.

“Wilkins of Tiptree have teamed up with local gin producer Hayman’s, to produce wonderful fruit gin liquers - Little Scarlet, Damson, Raspberry and their newest addition, Rhubarb. All taste great, and can be sipped, shaken or stirred!” added the spokesman.


Wilkins of Tiptree fruit gin liquers

Orders can be taken online as well as being available throughout the county in their Tearooms, and in the newest addition to their portfolio, the Tiptree Café, Patisserie and Shop, in Bond Street shopping complex, Chelmsford.

Meanwhile if you need something for the man in your life why not give him the chance to be a ‘Brewer for the Day’ at Brentwood Brewing Company or Billericay Brewery.

The experience allows them to sample the many fabulous ales, pouring a pint and even producing their own beer.

Click here for more details on all ideas.