THE head winemaker at the Langham Estate near Dorchester has stepped down from the role to focus on his own natural wine project.

After a decade in the English wine industry, Daniel Ham has decided to establish his own small sustainable winery on a biodynamic vineyard in Wiltshire.

Daniel, who has worked at Langham for five years, said: "In recent years, my interest has veered more and more towards sustainable winegrowing. I strongly believe that reducing inputs and promoting biodiversity both in the vineyard and winery is not only better for the natural environment, but produces more characterful and terroir focused wines. Having worked and visited many wine regions around the world, I am often shocked at how far behind the English wine industry is in this regard."

Danial was inspired to pursue his sustainable wine project after a chance encounter with Hugo Stewart, co-founder of the biodynamic Les Clos Perdus in South West France. Daniel continued: "After many years of sustainable wine production in France, Hugo decided to establish a biodynamic vineyard on his family farm in Downton, Wiltshire. I instantly felt an affiliation with Hugo’s approach to farming and that’s when the idea of establishing a winery at the farm began to take shape."

After graduating from Plumpton College, Daniel went on to become winemaker at Ridgeview Wine Estate in Sussex, before moving to Langham in 2015. While there, he imported an Italian amphora and began producing natural wines under the Offbeat Wines label.

The new winery, located on the edge of Salisbury, will house an extremely rare, square traditional Coquard basket press which is being brought in from Champagne.

To make the building as environmentally friendly as possible, the floor has been partially sunk into the surrounding chalk to provide natural temperature control and electricity will be generated from a bank of solar panels on the roof.

In turn, this renewable energy will be used to power the entire winery, including an electric forklift.

Production in the new facility will be limited to around 30,000 bottles a year.