It boasts 14 own-label products including seven whites, three red and rosés and four sparkling wines and it’s a military operation that runs like clockwork, belying the sleepy hollow in which it resides. It needs to be seen to be believed.

But fitting crown caps, screw caps and corks on a brand new bottling line is far from the end of the story at Halfpenny Green.

In an exclusive development unique to the English wine market, founder Martin Vickers has helped plant a new vineyard at Harper Adams University in Shropshire, in an attempt to safeguard the English wine industry by developing a new generation of talent in viticulture.

“We planted the student vineyard for a sense of legacy,” he said. “The only other venue offering viticulture courses is Plumpton College near Brighton. The industry desperately needed this facility, as do farm businesses who can diversify and become successful through wine making.”

It was Martin’s son Clive who planted 400 vines on a tiny patch of land on their farm in 1983 and after some 40 years of ripening success, his daughters Imogen (21) and Emily (19) might well become the third generation of Vickers wine makers, with the former in her third year of her Agrifood Marketing and Business course – at Harper Adams University!

“It would mean a lot if Imogen and Emily did follow in our footsteps, but they will embark on their own careers in their own time, which we’ll support them with. I’m not sure if wine runs through the blood here, but they both have an intuitive flair and understanding for the business and they would add a tremendous amount to what we do.”

Supplementing the wine operation is a charming restaurant, deli and gift shop – all run by Clive’s wife Lisa. More blossoming growth can be seen in an enticing craft village and even a three-acre zoo at the back of the estate, housing meercats, reptiles and birds of prey.

Never content to let the grass grow beneath their vines, Clive and Lisa are refusing to slow down. They are now exploring the possibility of building a number of holiday lodges, to turn the destination into a bonafide West Midlands tourist attraction with accommodation.

Clive added: “The possibilities are endless here, but we never lose sight of the fact that we’re only as good as our wines. They’ve never been more popular and we’re proud of the reputation we have carved out for ourselves. It’s not possible without a lot of hard work and a touch of kindness from Mother Nature here and there.

“What we have created here is something we’re all proud of. We think we’re on our way to becoming one of the most reputable and prestigious vineyards in England, but it’s been 40 years in the making and there’s still a great deal of hard work ahead.”

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