Tourist leaders have praised a major new South Hams visitor attraction which they say will reaffirm Devon’s position on the nation’s food map.

The new Sandridge Barton winery and visitor centre, set among the rolling hills near Stoke Gabriel is expected to attract thousands of keen wine-lovers and foodies each year.

The estate is the new home of award-winning Sharpham Wine grown on acres of new vineyards on the east bank of the River Dart, as opposed to the west bank where the winemakers were based for 40 years.

Speaking to guests from the region’s tourist industry, chief executive and head winemaker Duncan Schwab said: “In the past, when we were positioned on the Sharpham Estate, we had around 20,000 people a year visit us and we expect a similar number of visitors at Sandridge Barton.”

Duncan Schwab (Jim Wileman)

Sally Everton, director of Visit Devon, said: “A new visitor attraction like this will really help to pull a new audience to the county.

“Foodies and wine lovers will love the opportunity of being able to experience seeing how English wine is made, a leisurely wander through the vineyards growing in beautiful Devon countryside and sampling the end product as well as enjoying some wonderful local food and drink in such relaxed surroundings.”

Sally Everton, director of Visit Devon. (Jim Wileman)

John Sheaves, chief executive of Taste of the West added: “This new vineyard and visitor centre will not only help to put Westcountry wine on the map - a centre of excellence such as this will act as a great ambassador for the whole region’s food and drink offering.”

While Kath Hope of Food Drink Devon said: “The new centre and winery really does help underline the top-billing Devon already enjoys on the British food map.”

When it opens in June, Sandridge Barton will host a range of experiences including guided and self-guided tastings, giving visitors the opportunity to learn about the different grape varieties grown on site and the techniques used in the winery to craft each style of wine.

Tour of the winery (Jim Wileman)

There are walking trails through the estate and vineyards to explore as well as the opportunity to enjoy wines by the glass in the gallery bar or lunch in the courtyard.

Restaurant exterior. (Jim Wileman)

There will also be a shop stocking the full range of wines as well as Sharpham Dairy cheeses and other local produce to take home.

Duncan said: “The visitor centre and restaurant will put us on the map as the must-visit destination this summer.

“We are really looking forward to sharing this new experience with guests from around the country and further afield.”