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Farm diversification

Helping an award-winning winemaker sparkle

Charles Palmer, tenant farmer, made a momentous decision almost 10 years ago. He decided to diversify by using part of his land to plant a 5-acre vineyard.

That decision could well have been one of the best he has ever made. In 2009, his first vintage produced just 957 bottles but it won a gold medal at the Sommelier Wine Awards 2014 .

And this year, his 2010 Brut Sparkling Wine won the National Trust’s own Fine Farm Produce Awards . Next on the horizon is an expansion – and that’s where we come in.

Charles has been a Barclays customer since 1999. Earlier this year we were approached to help with funding the establishment of an additional 10 acres of vineyards.

Jan Loraine, Barclays Agricultural Manager for Charles Palmer Vineyards, is a regular visitor to the farm and was very keen to help the business. She was aided by Jackie Clare, Relationship Support Manager at Barclays Agriculture, in arranging the finance.

The business is notable partly because of the production methods that Charles uses. Whether that’s pruning thousands of vines by hand at the beginning of the year, removing many of the leaves in the summer to allow more light and air to reach the grapes, or harvesting the grapes by hand in October, he has a truly artisan approach to his craft.

The wines themselves are left to ferment for up to 3 and a half years and are ready to drink after a further 6 months in the cellar.

The approach has certainly paid off. And now the additional acreage that we’ve helped to fund will allow the business to expand further. If current form is anything to go by, that could mean winning a lot more awards in the future, too.


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