THE owners of a vineyard near Stourbridge have vowed not to stop fermenting, blending and bottling until the site has harvested a reputation as one of the most prestigious vineyards in England.

Seven hundred tonnes of grapes are squashed each year across 30 sprawling acres at Halfpenny Green Wine Estate in South Staffordshire, equating to 650,000 bottles.

Next year this is expected to rise to 900 tonnes and if the weather is kind, the one million mark might be reached in the family business’s biggest milestone of all.

The venture, which offers public and private tours, 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.

Halfpenny Green Wine EstateHalfpenny Green Wine Estate (Image: Halfpenny Green Wine Estate)

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, but just the beginning.

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.

He said: “We planted the student vineyard for a sense of legacy.

“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, aged 21, and Emily, aged 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.

Clive and Lisa Vickers Clive and Lisa Vickers (Image: Halfpenny Green Wine Estate)

Supplementing the wine operation is a restaurant, deli and gift shop – run by Clive’s wife Lisa. More blossoming growth can be seen in a 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 and 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.

Halfpenny Green Wine EstateHalfpenny Green Wine Estate (Image: Halfpenny Green Wine Estate)

Clive said: “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.”