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English wine producer Chapel Down sees sales fall after recent poor grape harvests

Published:  25 April, 2014

English wine and beer producer, Chapel Down, suffered a 24% sales volume drop due to smaller yields from the 2011 and 2012 grape harvests. It has, though, increased overall sales revenue by 4% by raising the average selling price of its wines by 10% during the past financial year.

As production levels for the 2011 and 2012 vintages were so low, the winery has worked hard to maintain supply to key customers with depleted stock levels.

Chapel Down said in its financial performance review "the lack of stock" resulted in a 24% fall in volume, which was eased to some extent by a 10% increase in the average selling price of its wines.

"We have been frustrated by our lack of stock," said Frazer Thompson, chief executive of Chapel Down. The 2013 harvest is expected to help replenish the current low stock volumes.

"We are delighted that 2013 gave us a bumper crop,our highest ever, which will enable us to replenish our stocks and gradually fulfil growing demand for our wines," said Thompson.

Chapel Down's sales were also boosted by its Curious Beers business, which had a 119% increase in sales, including listings with major multiple retailers and high-profile on-trade establishments.

Thompson said: "Our beer sales have helped Chapel Down to keep fizzing, which have listings in Majestic and Waitrose as well as hundreds of quality bars and restaurants including Jamie Oliver, The Royal Opera House and Hilton Hotels."

In July 2013 Chapel Down received £4.3 million in equity funding, which has been invested in both vines planting to help increase wine supply, as well as building a brewery for its craft beer brand.  The rise in popularity of craft beers has allowed Chapel Down tap into a new profitable income stream which is helping its growth.

"It was important therefore we were successful in raising £4.35 million of new funding to accelerate our growth and improve supply," said Thompson.