Ashling Park is a 50 acre estate in the charming hamlet of West Ashling. It may be small – blink and you’re through it – but it’s a delightful place to call home, with the rolling South Downs on the doorstep and the sea just minutes away.
After living here for more than 20 years the Gardner family decided it’s such a great place to rest and play, why not work here, too? The hay meadow was promptly converted into a vineyard and the rest, as they say, is alchemy – because as ideas go, it was pure gold.
Today the Ashling Park Estate business is a real family affair, with everyone playing their part.
Gail has a Masters in Marketing and has just embarked on the WSET Awards programme, having already taken a number of courses at Plumpton College, the UK’s centre of excellence in viticulture. Proving she will go the extra mile for a worthwhile cause, Gail took (and passed!) GCSE French to help get her tongue around the names of fancy grape varieties.
Matthew is an IT Networking Specialist for a global brand. In his spare time he uses his incredible technical expertise to grow the family business. When he isn’t tapping away at a keyboard, Matthew generously ensures that his discerning palate is available for all tasting sessions.
There are three young Gardners in the family home. The eldest daughter (in her mid teens) is always happy to lend a hand with the family business – but just the one, as the other is welded to her phone. The middle daughter (early teens) is more interested in eating grapes than looking after them, but hey, it’s a start. And the youngest (a canny 10 year old boy) has become a dab hand at weeding, recognising early on that he can extort extra pocket money out of his parents if he is seen wielding a hoe.
Rocco and Bean
Everyone’s Best Friends
There’s nothing better than stroking a dog when things get a bit hectic and the Gardners have two: Rocco, a liver-and-white English Pointer, and Bean, a slightly-overweight Beagle. As with all dog lovers, they don’t know where they’d be without them.
Barrie and Janet Christie
Business Baron (and Baroness)
Barrie (‘Dad’) is the family Business Baron – a marvellous mentor with unparalleled business acumen, he also has the honour of being the Estate’s Chief Tractor Driver. Janet (‘Mum’) takes first prize for putting up with everything that happens at Ashling Park in the pursuit of the perfect sparkling wine.
OK, so he’s not family, but Dermot is our superstar! He has the ‘Midas Touch’ when it comes to English sparkling wine. His haul of industry awards includes winning Gold and Silver medals at the International Wine Challenge (the most influential wine competition in the world) and in Decanter magazine’s annual World Wine Awards, which attracts over 15,000 entries. Dermot brings zest, personality and two more dogs to the business enterprise.
“The project at Ashling Park is incredibly exciting – great vines, wines and people – it’s a pleasure to be so closely involved.”