A grower who runs a vineyard in Wiltshire which produces up to 5,000 bottles a year has been awarded a £5,000 rural start-up grant.
Sophie Willingale of Bow in the Cloud Vineyard has been issued the business award by the Prince's Countryside Fund.
She took over the running of the family start-up in rural Malmesbury following the death of her father in 2018, who planted the vines during his retirement.
The vineyard extends to 4.4 acres, planted with Bacchus, Schonburger and Seyval Blanc grapes.
Sophie has been learning how to manage the vineyard and has decided to develop it as a business since taking it over last year.
“I’ve fallen in love with the vineyard and have been learning how to manage it and develop the business – with a lot of support from local people," she said.
"It’s been a great joy to bring back community harvest days, provide opportunities for others to learn like myself, and see the vineyard being used by the community.
"2020 is also the year that I’m officially taking over the vineyard business and buying the family land so the future feels a lot more secure.”
The Rural Start-Up Fund is an initiative developed in partnership by Forest Holidays and the Prince’s Countryside Fund to support new rural businesses
Both organisations say they recognise the difficulties of embarking on a new business venture in a remote area, so the support aims to give start-ups a boost.
The winning applicant receives £5,000 funding and mentoring support from Forest Holidays for 12 months.
The initiative will be opening for applications for its second year in spring 2021.