11:00am Thursday 20th December 2012
By Bethan Phillips
A HAMPSHIRE vineyard that produced wines for the Queen has gone into administration.
A poor harvest and lack of investment have been blamed for the situation at Wickham Vineyard, which has resulted in the loss of 24 jobs.
The company also owned high street chain Wine Shak, established when Wickham Vineyard bought 14 former Threshers and Wine Rack off-licences.
There were shops in Southampton and Alresford – but according to the vineyard, the company went into voluntary liquidation about three weeks ago, resulting in a further 34 job losses.
The vineyard’s wines had gained a worldwide reputation for excellence.
Three wines were even selected to be served at a lunch to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee – and were enjoyed by Her Majesty and Prince Philip.
A spokesman for the vineyard said that there had been difficult trading conditions for about 12 months.
He added: “There was a particularly poor harvest this year due to the weather and going forward it didn’t look as though we had any stocks.
“We were involved in the Wine Shak shops, and those were put into liquidation three weeks ago.
“The shops took the vineyard down as well.
“We’re pretty devastated here, a handful of days before Christmas.
“There’s just one or two people left tidying up before we all go home for good.
“There’s been no plans given to any of us for the future, we assume it’s the end.
“We believe we will get statutory redundancy from the Government, but that will be decided at the creditors’ meeting.
“It’s been difficult trading for at least the past 12 months and they have been trying to secure investment which hasn’t been forthcoming.”
It is unclear what will happen to the vineyard, as the land and buildings are not owned by Wickham Vineyard Ltd.
The Vineyard Restaurant, run by chef Paul Dive – who used to work for Raymond Blanc – was closed yesterday.
But it is understood that there are plans to keep the restaurant open.
The business WineShare, which sells wine and allows people to rent vines, is also run from the vineyard and is owned by Wickham Vineyard Ltd.
Staff there yesterday told the Daily Echo that the company was not currently affected by Wickham Vineyard Ltd going into administration.
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