The owners of an award-winning Welsh vineyard say their business is under threat after the local council forced them to close their farm shop.
Powys County Council took enforcement action against Penarth Vineyard, near Newtown, ruling that the winery’s shop did not have planning permission – but owners Bernard and Tanya Herbert say it does not need it.
They argue that the shop is part of an agricultural development, and therefore exempt, pointing out that wineries all over the country run their shops on the same basis.
They also claim to be supported by legal precedent, but say the council has refused to recognise this.
‘It’s a disaster,’ Bernard Herbert told decanter.com.
‘We had to shut the shop in mid-July, at the busiest time of the year for wine tours and the shop. With a vineyard, you’ve got to have a tasting room.
‘We’re probably the only vineyard in the world with no cellar door.’
Mr Herbert said the winery, whose sparkling rosé won a commendation in this year’s Decanter World Wine Awards, was still selling to restaurants, hotels and delicatessens.
He is yet to decide whether to fight the ruling, as the legal battle is likely to be time-consuming and costly.
A Powys County Council spokesperson said: ‘The county council is very supportive of Penarth Vineyard, as it is with all Powys businesses, but they must operate within legal and planning regulations.’
The case is due before Welshpool magistrates in mid-October.
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Written by Richard Woodard