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London Stock Exchange singles out Chapel Down in annual SME report

Published:  23 February, 2016

Kent's Chapel Down winery has become the first UK wine producer to feature in the London Stock Exchange's annual 1000 Companies to Inspire Britain report.

The report, which is now in its third year, identifies the UK's most dynamic small and medium-sized businesses.

The LSE cited Chapel Down's record-breaking crowdfunding in 2014, which raised £2.9 million from 1,100 investors in just 10 days, as "blazed a trail in England's winemaking and craft beer market".

Chapel Down has recently raised a further £1.5 million through crowdfunding website Seedrs for its Curious Brew beer- and cider-making subsidiary.

The LSE also noted the winery's contribution to tourism in the south east.

Chapel Down welcomed some 50,000 visitors to its Tenterden vineyard last year.

Sales at Chapel Down were up 33% to £3.25 million in the first half of 2015.

Beer and cider sales were likewise up 33% year on year to just under £1 million. Wine sales grew by 45% over the period to £2.3 million.

Frazer Thompson, chief executive of Chapel Down, said: "Being recognised by the London Stock Exchange as one of Britain's most inspiring companies is a great honour and it is humbling to be the first wine producer to feature. 

"We strive to push boundaries in all areas of our business, whether that be through product innovation, record-breaking crowdfunding or expansion in to new categories such as beer and cider, and it is extremely rewarding to be recognised for this."

Xavier Rolet, chief executive of the London Stock Exchange Group, said: "High-growth SMEs are the driving force behind the UK economy, developing the skills, jobs and growth we need. But ambition alone is not enough; their success must be highlighted and their growth properly supported with appropriate finance.

"That's why today's event is so important: demonstrating the strong alliance between UK government, financial market participants, investors, entrepreneurs and companies to support these inspiring businesses."

Chapel Down has 16 acres under vine on its 68-acre estate at Tenterden.

It owns the largest single vineyard in Kent, comprising 115 acres at Aylesford, and also sources grapes from a further 13 vineyards across the south east.

It recently released England's first single-varietal Albariño and last year produced England's first skin contact white wine, its Chapel Down Orange Bacchus 2014.