Formula One Champion Jody Scheckter has announced his plans to open a winery in Hampshire.
The South African racing legend bought Laverstoke Park farm, near Overton in 2007, from which he hopes to produce his first biodynamic sparkling wine in 2012.
He applied last week to his local council to transform part of his land into a winery.
The intention is to build a complex including a main barrel-vaulted structure with a roof covered in vegetation.
The farm already has a 10ha vineyard planted to Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier.
In an interview in Decanter magazine in January 2009, Scheckter said he had been bitten by the biodynamic bug after his wife gave him a book on the subject. ‘It bacame a passion, then a disease. We’ve now got about 500 books on agriculture.’
Sara Whittall, marketing manager for Laverstoke told the newspaper This is Hampshire that clones had been selected for their suitability to the ‘often-difficult UK growing conditions.’
‘Each was chosen to provide a different dimension for the winemaker to craft together a quality organic English sparkling wine. The site of the vineyard was chosen because of the slope, exposure to the sun and also to help manage the vigour of the vine and the impact of disease’, she added.
Scheckter told Decanter, ‘It’s going to be a Champagne, but we can’t call it that. I’m going to call it Schampagne. I’d also like to do a red sparkling – the purists would hate that, but reds are healthier than whites.’
The farm now awaits a planning decision from Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council.
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Written by James Lawrence