The story behind Furleigh Estate near Bridport

PUBLISHED: 15:22 19 July 2016 | UPDATED: 15:22 19 July 2016

Furleigh Estate - a former dairy farm transformed into an award-winning vineyard

Furleigh Estate - a former dairy farm transformed into an award-winning vineyard


Years of careful planning and investment has transformed a Dorset dairy farm into an award-winning vineyard and winery of international repute

We are hearing a lot these days about the rise of English wine, but just how true is this when it comes to Dorset? Well a visit to one of the longer established vineyards in the county certainly helps to prove the point.

Furleigh Estate is a multi-award-winning 85 acre vineyard at Salway Ash just outside Bridport. The vines were planted in 2005 by the owners, Ian Edwards and Rebecca Hansford. They grow mostly the classic Champagne varieties of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier and use these to make some very special sparkling wine as well as exceptional still wines. Ian is the winemaker and uses only Estate-grown grapes, from the 22,000 vines, in the winery; no fruit is bought in from elsewhere. The care the couple take in both vineyard management and wine making is very apparent in the end results.

Ever since they first started producing wines, the Furleigh Estate team have been showered with international awards. The most recent is a gold medal from the International Wine Challenge 2016. These awards from the world’s finest and most meticulously judged wine competition show what the many fans of the Estate’s wines already know – that Dorset produces some of the finest food and drink in the world including some truly exceptional wines.

Why not find out for yourself - vineyard tours are on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays (11am & 2.30pm) and can be booked online at or by contacting or 01308 488991. The Cellar Shop is open for sales and tasting Monday – Saturday 11am – 5pm.

We recommend…

Bacchus Dry 2014

An attractive and elegant dry white wine. It has attractive floral aromas of elderflower and honeysuckle combined with citrus aromas of grapefruit and lemon plus a hint of asparagus. The palate is crisp, zingy and fresh with notes of juicy pear, honeydew melon and a touch of pineapple and lychee. It is beautifully balance with uplifting lime acidity and a good length.

Perfect served chilled with flat fish such as lemon sole, plaice, brill or turbot. Nice with goats cheese salad or asparagus drizzled with lemon butter. Also good with sushi and pickled ginger or mackerel ceviche with lime, shallots and coriander.

Rosé 2010

Elegant sparkling rosé wine which has a delicate salmon pink hue with steady fine bubbles. Aromas of wild strawberries and white cherries mingle with a hint of rosehip. The palate is dry and refined with fresh summer red berries including cranberries and redcurrants. It has citrus acidity, delicate minerality and a gentle mousse. The mouthfeel is excellent with subtle notes of autolytic development. It shows good balance and lingers well after the last drop.

Excellent served well-chilled with seafood such as tuna carpaccio, hand-dived Lyme Bay scallops or pan-fried garlic prawns. Also good with Thai-marinated fish including sea bass, red mullet or gurnard cooked en papillote with lemongrass and ginger.

More wine…

7 fantastic Dorset vineyards - English vineyards and winemakers have enjoyed a renaissance in recent years and are now producing award-winning wines of regional character, writes Helen Stiles

5 tasty Dorset wines - Mark Banham from Morrish & Banham wine merchants in Dorchester selects wines from two of his favourite Dorset vineyards

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