After more than 10 years of award-winning wine production, the Ferguson family has sold Kerry Vale Vineyard, located on the England-Wales border near Montgomery.
The vineyard, set up by Geoff and June Ferguson as a family business in 2010, has won multiple national and international awards for its wine, its excellent customer service and its café’s locally sourced food and homemade cakes.
It has even featured on BBC1, BBC2 and ITV, bringing the border area’s wine scene into the spotlight.
Last month, a decade after it was established, Mr Ferguson decided to pass over the baton to wine enthusiasts Russell and Janet Cooke, who have relocated from the USA to take on the vineyard and embark on this exciting life change.
“After a number of years working overseas we are delighted to be back in the UK,” said Russell.
The Cookes are no novices to the culture. Throughout their careers, Russell and Jan have often found themselves living in lesser known, but nevertheless popular, wine making regions.
“One of the favourite places we lived was Vienna, which is surprisingly richly populated with vineyards, but whose wine is rarely exported,” explained Russell. The ‘Heuriger’ culture enjoyed in Vienna, which sees family and friends relishing the local wine with simple local food, would be great to replicate here.
“Our last four years were spent living in New York, which surprisingly has more than 50 vineyards on the east of Long Island. Jan and I are both really excited to be joining the UK wine industry as it continues to grow.”
Kerry Vale Vineyard will continue to run its busy café and provide vineyard tours weekly. The new owners are keen to promote consistency and hope to build on the venue’s trusted reputation by retaining existing staff.
Nadine Roach, daughter of the founders, has worked in the vineyard for a number of years and will continue to lead the marketing and publicity. Mr Ferguson has also agreed to take on a consultancy role to provide continuity and guidance to the new owners.
Jan, who will manage the café, explained: “Building on the success of the past will be crucial, and we are thrilled that the vineyard’s experienced team will be with us on this journey. We very much hope that existing customers continue to enjoy our wine and cafe and we look forward to working with local businesses and suppliers as we plan our future.”
The new owners would like to see more weddings being toasted with English sparkling wine. As consumers become more aware of the negative environmental impact of importing consumables, Kerry Vale Vineyard aims to promote the ‘buy local’ philosophy.
The vineyard café and shop reopen on Thursday, March 26 when the new owners will be available to meet both existing and new customers. Wines are also available to purchase from the vineyard’s online store.