One of West Dorset’s most sparkling business success stories is celebrating the transformation of a dairy farm into one of the UK's leading wineries.
West Dorset MP Oliver Letwin was on hand at the Furleigh Estate at Salway Ash to open a new tasting room – and sample the wines, which are getting rave reviews and a clutch of medals and trophies.
Owned by Rebecca Hansford and husband Ian Edwards since 2004, Furleigh Estate used to be a dairy farm and was Rebecca's childhood home. The family farm was sold by Rebecca's father in the 1990s and then by chance came up for sale when Rebecca and Ian were looking for a new home for their family.
The vineyard on the 85 acre estate was planted in 2005 and 2006 with 22,000 vines. In 2007, the purpose-built 5,000 square foot winery was created and equipped and the company now employs five people.
This year Ian has taken the coveted UK Winemaker of the Year title and the crop of awards is increasing all the time for Furleigh's speciality sparkling wines and the still whites, roses and reds.
Rebecca said: “We want to show that great wines are made in this country.”