GAZING out at fields filled with rows of grape vines while enjoying a glass of wine made just metres away.

The experience may still be more associated with southern France than the Oxfordshire countryside, but this year marks the 40th anniversary of the county’s oldest vineyard.

To celebrate the milestone, Bothy Vineyard in Frilford Heath, near Abingdon, will open its doors today to give residents a chance to learn more about its home-grown products.

Sian Liwicki, who bought the vineyard and winery in 2002 with husband Richard, said: "We are so proud to be here for the 40th year. Richard has always been crazy about wine and wanted to learn how to make it as well so when we found this place it was amazing."

The 55-year-old added: "We love owning our own vineyard. It is the perfect place to live and work."

Bothy was originally planted in 1978 by Dorothy and Roger Fisher, who searched south east England for three years to find the ideal spot.

The small vineyard now produces around 5,000 bottles of white, red and rose wine each year, though dry whites remain the star attraction.

The 2017 vintage is currently maturing in Bothy's wine cellars and will be ready later this summer.

Before handing over to Mr Liwicki, who produces the wine, vineyard manager Ed Mitchum is in charge of making sure the 1.5 hectare plot produces the best grapes possible.

Mr Mitchum, who has been at Bothy since 2014, said interest was growing in wines made in the UK but many people still did not think of Oxfordshire as the most natural home of wine production.

He said: "The other day we had a man who lives very close to the vineyard come in because he'd Googled places locally that recycled corks.

"He'd had no idea we were here despite living close by for years."

Things are starting to change, however, and Mr Mitchum said in the past five years especially there has been an increased interest from the public in wine made by small local producers.

He said: “The profile of UK wine is definitely on the rise. There is a difference between what is readily available in shops and what we produce but it's still familiar enough that it isn't too much of a change for people."

He added things were looking good for this year’s crop, due to be harvested in October, saying: “The weather at the moment has really brought the plants along and they are looking really good right now.”

The open day, which also marks English Wine Week, will take place today, with guided tours at 12pm and 3pm.

In September Bothy will also host event 'sculpture in the vineyard' with contemporary creations on display among the vines.