A Worcestershire vineyard has been put on the market after owner John Ballard, who established the Sixteen Ridges Vineyard in 2008, has decided to step back from the farming life.
Sixteen Ridges produces the grapes for red, rose and sparkling wine which are made by Haygrove Evolution in Ledbury and sold under the under the Sixteen Ridges brand.
John is marketing the 12-acre vineyard and the remainder of the 120 acre farm at Shrawley for more than 50 years through Worcester rural business agent Fisher German.
John 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.”
John’s wife Anne, who started and ran many of the non-farming ventures, died in 2006 and the family decided to sell the wedding venue but to press on with the vineyards.
“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.”
The farm also includes two agricultural buildings, 62 acres of arable land and amenity woodland.
Tom Pike, of Fisher German who is handling the sale, said: “Church Farm is a very good example of rural entrepreneurship. The Ballard family have used the assets of their land to create a valuable crop which provides a very good income alongside more traditional farming.
“Sixteen Ridges is nationally renowned for producing some of the best wines in the UK and much of that is directly attributable to the work at Church Farm.”