Helen Lilley with the Congham Rosé and Congham Phoenix wine Picture: Paul Tibbs

Growing a few bunches of grapes was only meant to be a hobby for one retired couple in West Norfolk.

But in just a few years,  Helen and John Lilley’s interest has grown rapidly and they have had two wines produced from their vineyard in Congham, granted a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status.

Mrs Lilley, 64, said: “This is the third year we have been awarded this honour along with a relatively small number of other English wine producers.”

The PDO mark is clearly  visible on the bottles containing the Congham Rosé and Congham Phoenix.

It provides protected status for the wine under European Union law.

Mrs Lilley, and her husband John, 68, began their hobby in 2007.

“It took a couple of years to get established and then we had a mini harvest in 2009 and then a serious harvest  year later.”

The couple rely on volunteers to help them around late September for picking around two tonnes of grapes.

The grapes are collected in plastic bins and sent to Shawsgate Vineyard in Suffolk, where they are pressed and bottled.

The wine, rosé and white, is then sent back to the Congham vineyard where it is then sold onto local hotels, restaurants and shops.

Last year the vineyard produced 760 bottles of rosé and 718 of white.

The couple have also made  red wine for the first time this year.

Mrs Lilley, said: “I do like to have a glass from time-to-time. We make ours with 10 per cent alcohol so it is not too strong.

“But it’s nice this time of year to have a glass in the garden.”