A mixed dairy and arable farm that has branched out into a successful wine business has a bright future when it comes to market.
Sixteen Ridges Vineyard was established in 2008 as part of a series of successful business ventures at Church Farm, based in Worcestershire.
The thirty plus tons of grapes grown each year are made into a variety of wines – red, rosé and sparkling – and are sold under the Sixteen Ridges brand.
John Ballard, who farmed in Shrawley for over 50 years, established the vineyard, but is now preparing for retirement from farm life.
He markets the 12-acre vineyard and the rest of the farm through the rural real estate agency Fisher German.
“We really had no choice but to diversify because we’re not a big farm,” Ballard said.
“Over the years we have been involved with dairy and a wide range of arable crops, but also with more unusual crops such as asparagus and salad onions.
“We opened a store on the farm, sold dried flowers and organized various classes. We have also developed a successful wedding venue and originally thought it would be the perfect platform to market the wines produced there.
His wife Anne, who started and managed many non-farm businesses, died in 2006 and the family decided to sell the wedding venue but continue with the vineyards.
(Photo: German Fisher)
“We have the right kind of soil, and the fields involved face south and southeast and this combination has proven to be very successful,” he said.
The farm also includes two farm buildings, 62 acres of arable land and amenity woods.
Tom Pike, of Fisher German who manages the sale, said Church Farm was a great example of rural entrepreneurship.
“The Ballard family used the assets of their land to create a value crop that provides a very good income alongside more traditional agriculture.
“Sixteen Ridges is nationally renowned for producing some of the best wines in the UK and much of this is directly attributable to the work of Church Farm.”