The vineyard, based in Shrawley, Worcesterhire, and covering nearly five hectares (12 acres), supplies grapes for Sixteen Ridges wines. Grape varieties include Pinot Noir, plus ‘Pinot Noir early’ – or Précoce – and Seyval Blanc.
Around half of the vines were planted in 2008/2009, according to the listing brochure, with the other half planted more recently and set to yield a full crop in 2022.
The vines have recently come onto the market as part of a broader sale of 40.4 hectares of land (99.76 acres) at Church farm estate – carrying an overall guide price of £1.25m, according to listing agency Fisher German.
Wines made from the vineyard’s grapes include ‘Pinot Noir Early’ red and Pinot Noir rosé, as well as sparkling. They are produced by Haygrove Evolution at its winery in Ledbury.
Tom Pike, associate director of Fisher German, said the Sixteen Ridges brand name was not included in the sale.
‘We have the right sort of soil, and the fields involved are south and south-east facing and that combination has proved very successful,’ said John Ballard, who established the vineyard in 2008 but is now preparing to step back from farming after more than 50 years.
‘We had intended to produce wine and we have what is needed to do that, but the partnership with Haygrove Evolution has proved mutually beneficial and the wines are highly-regarded,’ said Ballard.
Simon Day, MD at Haygrove, helped Ballard to set up the vineyard during his time as a consultant at Church farm.
‘We established our wine brand to ensure that we could use the grapes the vineyard has supplied rather than the other way around,’ he said.
‘We have developed a very close working relationship which has resulted in many award-winning wines.’
While managing a vineyard can be a challenging endeavour, the UK wine industry has seen rapid growth in the past decade.
In a report in September 2020, Simon Robinson, chairman of Wines of Great Britain, said there had inevitably been serious setbacks due to the economic impact of Covid-19, but he added that ‘we remain broadly positive for the future’.
Based on survey data, the trade body estimated 5.5 million bottles of English and Welsh wines were sold in 2019, growing from some 3.2 million bottles in 2018 – ‘an increase of over 70%’. Vineyard plantings have also risen strongly in the last 15 years or so.