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The red tractor helping to make red wines… and much more

Taking delivery of a new Massey Ferguson MF 3600 series tractor from C&O Tractors is helping an enterprising business venture and vineyard take the next steps on what has been an exciting journey over the past four years.

Award winning Adgestone Vineyard, located on the chalky south facing slopes near Sandown on the Isle of Wight, has developed not only a popular vineyard business but also diversified through its cafe, shop, bed and breakfast business and music events throughout the summer weekends.

However, core to the success of the business is the management of the vineyard, and that is why Russ Broughton and Caroline Fawcett have invested in the new kit from C&O Tractors.

This has all been something of a steep-learning curve for Mr Broughton, as it was a chance viewing of an advert in a local newspaper while visiting relatives that eventually saw him take over the 10-acre site in July 2013, and opening the doors to the public by 1st August the same year.

Adgestone Vineyard, established in 1968, under the pioneering ownership of Mr Ken Barlow is thought to be the oldest continuously operating vineyard/winery in the UK. But there is evidence to presume that the Romans had been growing vines on the slopes some 2000 year earlier.

Russ recognised that the vineyard needed to increase in productivity to stay competitive. With the help of his father and only permanent employee, they ploughed and planted over 3000 young vines in 2013/14 to increase the wine density in anticipation of their first harvest four to five years later. On meeting his future wife, Caroline Fawcett, a practicing GP in Somerset, but now also budding farmer, they further invested in 1500 new vines this year with both Russ’ original family team and now Caroline’s family fully involved in the planting process.

Earlier this summer, Russ and Caroline took delivery of the MF 3630 tractor to help manage the vineyard. Part of Massey Ferguson’s range of MF 3600 series tractors, noted for their agility, power and versatility in performance, the tractor was delivered via C&O Tractors’ Isle of Wight depot.

Announced as the distributor for Massey Ferguson for south central England in April this year, C&O is responsible for the sales and support of the full-line of Massey Ferguson farm machinery across parts of Dorset, Somerset, Hampshire, West Sussex and Wiltshire, as well as the Isle of Wight.

The MF 3600 Series is a straightforward yet impressive tractor, consisting of rugged power and quick, agile manoeuvrability, designed to tackle the widest range of agricultural, specialist and vineyard tasks. Tailor made for traditional vineyards, the thoughtful design makes it perfect for narrow and low access areas where space is at a premium. The MF 3600 range is also ideally suited to working on slopes.

All versions feature a spacious, comfortable cab with good visibility. At the heart of each model is a powerful engine delivering plenty of torque and excellent economy. Of course, you can also expect to see the world-renowned Ferguson 3-point linkage, with this range boasting a 3000kg lift capacity.

Having taken delivery of the new tractor, Russ and Caroline can concentrate on the core vineyard business, alongside the many other activities keeping Adgestone Vineyard busy throughout the year.

Not to mention Adgestone’s first ceremonial wedding in May 2018 when Russ and Caroline tie the knot on the slopes, to become Mr & Dr Broughton.

The vineyard will then be the Islands most romantic wedding venue available for future couples. Use of the tractor to deliver the bride would be negotiable!!

Russ says, “As an engineer, struggling with a 25-year-old underpowered SAME 45 was unbearable, but we had no option. I knew we had to move into the modern age, but finding the right tool to last us 30 years was a big ask. We needed power to drag the sub-soiler, flail and sprayer, but manoeuvrability and narrow gauge to get through 1.6m rows on a 13 degree slope. Lee and his team at C&O gave us the perfect combination, complete with air-con cab and power-shuttle gears. In my mind, it’s the perfect solution. Unfortunately, in Caroline’s eyes......it’s nearly perfect, but not pink!”

Alongside the café, farm shop and the bed and breakfast, Adgestone Vineyard also offers visitors the full ‘Grape to Glass’ vineyard tour experience. The one-hour audio tour finishes with a personal 20-minute wine tasting lesson, enabling visitors to sample all 10 wines from the Adgestone range as well as their homemade liqueurs and of course, the infamous Arson Fire Chilli range .

Lindsay Haddon, sales promotion manager at Massey Ferguson comments, “We are delighted to be able to help Russ and Caroline and their team to develop the business with the delivery of his new MF 3600 series tractor. This range is ideally suited to the unique environment it is operating in, and we wish all at Adgestone Vineyard continued success with their new tractor.”