English Pinot Noir-focused vineyard put up for sale
Pinot Noir specialist vineyard Sixteen Ridges in Worcestershire has been put up for sale with a guide price of £1.25 million.
The 8.4ha vineyard is being put up for sale along with the rest of Chalk Farm, with arable land, vineyards and woodland covering a total of 99.76 acres (40.4 hectares).
Sixteen Ridges was planted by John Ballard, owner of Chalk Farm, in 2007. Over 30 tonnes of grapes are harvested from the site each year, producing a range of red, rosé and sparkling wines which are made by Simon Day of contract winery Haygrove Evolution in Ledbury, Herefordshire, and sold under the Sixteen Ridges brand.
After over 50 years in farming, Ballard is now wanting to step back and has put the site on the market.
Commenting on the farm’s history, Ballard said: “We really had no choice but to diversify as we are not a large farm. We have been involved in dairy and a wide range of arable over the years, but also with more unusual crops such as asparagus and salad onion. We opened a farm shop, sold dried flowers and also ran a variety of courses. We also developed a successful wedding venue, and originally, we thought that would be the perfect platform for us to market wines produced on site.”
But, having sold the wedding venue following the death of his wife Anne in 2006, Ballard established a vineyard.
“We have the right sort of soil, and the fields involved are south and south-east facing and that combination has proved very successful,” he said. “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.”
Day of Haygrove Evolution, who advised Ballard during the planting process, added: “I advised John from the very early days when I was working as a consultant and really, we established our wine brand to ensure that we could use the grapes the vineyard has supplied rather than the other way around. All the factors for producing wine, such as soil type and aspect, combined with the superb management of the land, means that the vineyard produces what we regard as the finest fruit in the UK in terms of quality and consistency, and we have developed a very close working relationship which has resulted in many award-winning wines.”
Known for its still Pinot Noir, Sixteen Ridges also makes a still rosé from the variety, as well as a white made from Bacchus and two sparkling wines.
Last year it was one of two English vineyards that decided to produce an English Nouveau, following the model more commonly associated with Beaujolais. Using Pinot Noir Précoce, a mutation that ripens two to three weeks earlier than standard Pinot Noir, Sixteen Ridges sold the limited edition bottles in Waitrose.
Also included in the Chalk Farm sale are two farm buildings and a mobile home as well as hard-standing areas for storing machinery or handling livestock.