Build A New Life In The Country

Series 4 - Episode 1: Yorkshire

Episode 1: Yorkshire

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Charlie is impressed by a couple’s drive and their determination to project-manage the rebuilding of a dilapidated farmhouse in Yorkshire. But he is frankly astounded by their decision to establish a vineyard with virtually no knowledge of the wine business.

“We know how to drink wine but that’s about it,” jokes Ian. “It’s not rocket science, is it?” adds Becky. They have already planted some 7,000 vines on a hillside to create one of the highest and most northerly vineyards in the UK. “You’re either geniuses or slightly bonkers,” Charlie says.

Ian and Becky throw themselves into the gruelling schedule of construction, working seven-day weeks to meet their deadline. The budget is constantly tested as the pair tweak their specifications to produce the highest-quality home they can. “If you’re going to do it, you might as well do it properly,” Becky says. However, early enthusiasm gives way to the hard realities of the project, as Ian and Becky realise the huge amount of work it takes to maintain the vineyard.

On another visit, Charlie is roped in to help drive 2,000 wooden posts into the ground to support the vines. Becky’s optimism remains undimmed in the face of his warnings. “How can 7,000 vines just not work?” she asks. “Because no one’s ever grown them this high in this latitude before,” Charlie replies.

Charlie watches on with some alarm as the scale of the vineyard expands. Becky and Ian decide their produce will only reach the highest standard if they can process the grapes on site, which will entail the construction of a large winery. Eight months into the build, Charlie arrives to find the farmhouse is ahead of schedule, while Ian is seeking planning permission for the winery. “I’m incredibly impressed by Ian and Bex, who are working really hard, but what’s concerning me is the vineyard,” he admits.

As Charlie points out, there is no guarantee that the vines will flourish in the Yorkshire climate. As the winter drags on, the house nears completion, but complications with the planning procedure are sapping Ian’s confidence. “If we don’t get planning permission for the winery, then we’ve got a real problem and the whole project could be off,” he says. Ian and Becky are within sight of their ambitious goal to build a home and a vineyard – but will they be defeated at the last hurdle?

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