Tanks, wine and weddings - the key to success

TANK-driving, clay pigeon shooting, wine-making and wedding parties – all in a day’s work at one North Somerset farm.

Long gone are the days when a farmer’s workload involved nothing more revolutionary than milking, planting and shearing.

These days, many farms are being forced to diversify to keep afloat – and few have done so more successfully than Aldwick Court Farm in Redhill.

Corporate events, team-building activities, weddings, and Somerset’s largest vineyard are all now hosted by the once-traditional farm site.

Aldwick Court’s sales and marketing director Mark Fanning said: “We are no stranger to diversification and in the past we have successfully explored pig farming, grass drying, dried blackcurrant seed exporting and unique corporate team building and hospitality events.

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“After the economic uncertainty of the past year, we realised we needed to invest in the business and create new opportunities to enable us to grow.

“Wedding, stag and hen dos, and corporate retreats offered huge potential for us, which is why we decided to expand on this offering.”

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Aldwick Farm has been able to achieve all this with help from grants made by the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE).

And further growth is expected. By 2014, Mark predicts the farm’s vineyard will be turning out 30-35,000 bottles of wine each year, and later this month the farm will be opening a new visitor centre.

And Mark added: “Fundamentally, Aldwick Court hopes to generate repeat business.

“I really think growth is achievable due to the truly unique, bespoke experience we offer.

“After all, where else can you have a think tank in the morning and drive one in the afternoon?”

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