Published: 05:00, 08 April 2022
If you've ever fancied chucking over your office job and setting up as a wine-grower, now's your chance.
Land Agents the BTF Partnership are marketing 94 acres of agricultural land in the Weald which they say are ideal for vine-planting.
The land, known as East Heath, lies south of The Moor at Hawkhurst, with an access off Stream Lane.
If someone were to take on the challenge of setting up a winery there, it would become the third near the village. There is already a vineyard of Heartenoak Road and another off Rye Road on the way to Sandhurst.
Richard Griffiths, Hawkhurst Parish Clerk, said: "The village used to be a big hop-growing area, perhaps now its going to become vines."
The plot which is currently divided into four fields, and includes nine acres of woodland, is primarily south and south east facing and between 15 to 18 metres above sea level.
The soil is a combination of Wealden clay and Tunbridge Wells sand. In recent years it has been farmed for cereal crops.
Richard Thomas, director at BTF Partnership, said: “The three eastern fields are considered suitable for establishing vines as they are well sheltered and south-east facing.
"They are not too high, which is important because wind can be a problem for growers.
"There are already several established vineyards around the Kent and Sussex border.
"This is one of the largest parcels of land suitable for vine planting to come for sale in this area for some time, and I think it will generate considerable interest from a variety of purchasers."
The land is up for sale with a guide price of £975,000.
Parish councillor John Hunt said: "I don't think the village will have any problem with another vineyard.
"It is an agricultural use and not one that is heavy on traffic."
There are least 22 working vineyards in Kent, from Sevenoaks to Canterbury and from Tonbridge to Folkestone. Many are centred around Ashford and along the North Downs.
One of the best known is the award-winning Chapel Down Vineyard 12 miles away at Tenterden.
Ben Woodchurch from Chapel Down said: "Wealden clay would not be ideal from a drainage perspective, but sand would be good. That's its south-facing is important and the height is okay."
Mr Woodchurch said: "The best soil is on the chalk of the North Downs, where we have a number of vineyards.
"A lot of landowners when they come to sell now, because there is more awareness of the viticulture industry, suggest their land might be suitable for a vineyard, when perhaps a few years ago they wouldn't have thought of it."