Chilford Hall Vineyard and Winery, one of England’s oldest established commercial vineyards, has hit the open market with a guide price of £2 million.

Being sold by Cheffins in Cambridge, the property is situated in Linton, just eight miles south east of the University City of Cambridge. The sale forms part of the assets of Chilford Hundred Limited to include the 22 acre vineyard, the winery, wine making equipment and approximately 45,000 bottles of wine produced on the estate.

The award-winning vineyard was established in 1972 by the late entrepreneur, Sam Alper OBE, and now includes nine different grape varieties, producing over 18,000 bottles per year of red, white, rosé and sparkling wines. Across the 18 acres of established vines are varieties including Müller-Thurgau, Schönburger, Otega, Reichensteiner, Pinot Noir, Rondo, Regent, Dornfelder and Siegerrebe. Chilford Hall wines have won many awards and accolades for the quality of their wines from the United Kingdom Vineyards Association, which is now known as WineGB. The remaining four acres provide scope for further planting or development of the vineyard.

The winery buildings are set around a central grassed courtyard and include a period timber framed building, converted Dutch barn and a bonded cellar which includes white marble pillars from the Long Bar at Waterloo Station. The site extends to approximately six acres and includes 2.35 acres of undeveloped land providing opportunities for further expansion.

Head wine maker, Mark Barnes, who studied viticulture and oenology at Plumpton College, has been with the company for 16 years and consistently produces award winning wines. Due to increasing demands for the expertise held by Mark and the rising number of growers in East Anglia, Chilford Hundred Limited has invested in all the latest equipment for making quality still and sparkling wines and undertakes contract wine making for eight other growers in the region with three more coming on-stream in the next three or four years. It also provides viticulture consultancy and vine planting services.

Chilford Hall Vineyard is a popular destination for vineyard tours and tastings which form an important part of the business. These, at present, take place in a marquee and bistro on land which the seller is retaining, but would be happy to lease to a new owner.

Sam Alper OBE, who created the vineyard, was the designer of the Sprite Caravan and the founder of the Little Chef chain of restaurants. He was also the founder of the East Anglian Wine Growers Association (now WineGB East) and a board member of The United Kingdom Vineyards Association (now WineGB). He was a shareholder and on the board of The International Wine and Spirit Competition. A great promoter of English wine, he took part in the 1983 Great English Wine Rally driving samples of his wine to the George V Hotel in Paris in his 1930 Vintage Rolls Royce.

Sam’s widow, Fiona Alper, who is selling the Vineyard and Winery said: “It has been an exciting journey being involved in English wine. I have met so many interesting people and have wined and dined in the most incredible places, from Napa Valley to Hungary. I now want to retire and feel it is the right time for someone with passion and energy to take the vineyard and winery to the next level.”

Simon Gooderham, joint Managing Partner at Cheffins which is handling the sale comments: “This is an exceptional opportunity for a buyer to purchase one of the oldest vineyards in England and to take this already well-regarded business yet further. The flinty soils overlying chalk at Chilford Hall are ideal for the production of English sparkling wine, which has been an expanding area of success for the business. The English wine market is evolving at pace, and we have seen a growth in interest in this emerging sector within the rural market. Whilst there are now believed to be over 700 vineyards in England and Wales, few of these are as well established as Chilford Hall, and with its free-draining soil, it has conditions similar to those found in the Champagne region of France, making it perfect for sparkling wine production.”

For further information on the sale of Chilford Hall Vineyard, please contact the Cheffins Rural Professionals Department 
01223 213777