The family-run Upperton Vineyards at Tillington is scaling back its award- winning business.
Andy Rogers, who runs the vineyards with his wife Judith and son James, announced this week he has sold a large part of the vineyards on the slopes at Upperton to a private investor.
But the family are keeping some of the vines and plan to plant more next spring.
This means they will retain the new wine centre with its shop, conference centre and marquee area and plan to continue putting on events and giving wine tours at the vineyards.
And they will continue to grow grapes and sell wine.
But Andy said the sale of a large part of the vineyard had taken a huge weight off his shoulders, after he was unable to work for several months last year following operations on his leg.
It came at a time when wet weather brought a poor harvest, giving the family an uncertain financial future.
“It was better to sell to secure the future for the family,” Andy told the Observer.
“Owing to my being laid up last year it seemed wise and has meant that life is a little less hectic,” he added, “but the wine will continue to be produced from the part of the vineyard that we have retained.
“There are six years of our wine in the cellar and more wine will continue to be produced by me under the Upperton brand as we will be planting more vines next spring.”
Last summer, the business beat off competition from the major champagne houses and vineyards across the world to win ‘outstanding’ acclaim.
It was awarded a silver outstanding medal for its Aurora 2010 English sparkling wine in the 2015 international Wine and Spirits Awards competition.
The vineyards had come a long way since the family planted their first 1,000 vines on the fertile slopes in 2006.
It was a long and hard road and Andy kept on his landscaping business as well as working with his family in the vineyards.
But by 2014 there were 32,000 vines on 20 acres and on the racks of the newly-converted wine cellars, thousands of bottles of wine lay waiting for labels.
In the meantime, this year’s harvest should begin in the next week.
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