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Ridgeview invests £1.8m in new winery to double production

Published:  18 April, 2019

Ridgeview Wine Estate has invested £1.8 million in a new winery with the aim of doubling production to 500,000 bottles by 2023.

The new 18,000 sq ft building, which is situated on the property adjacent to the Sussex producer’s current winery, is poised to be ready for use this August in time for this year’s harvest in September.

In a nod to the family-owned winery’s focus on sustainability, the new build includes an underground cellar space, which will deliver a combined capacity storage for 1.3 million bottles.

“All our wines are made in the traditional method which means each and every bottle has its own secondary fermentation after which a process of lees aging takes place to improve the quality of the wine. This can take anything from 15 months to 10 plus years, which means we have to have space for numerous harvests to be cellared at any one time.

“The perfect conditions for this process is at a constant, cool temperature without daylight and very limited hours of artificial light and this is exactly what a cellar provides,” said marketing and communications director Mardi Roberts.

With no need for air conditioning systems to be run “24 hours a day 365 days per year – costly to the environment and the pocket long term”, it was also the most sustainable way of achieving these conditions, she added.

Cellars do not come cheap however, with the cost of this one approximately 30% of the total build cost, added Roberts, “so you can understand why they are unusual in English sparkling wine industry and wine trade generally”.

There were also future plans for solar panels and rainwater harvesting, with Ridgeview having been awarded a government grant to help with the cost of the new winery, she added.

Included in the upper level of the new winery will be production facilities for post bottling of the wines, a new laboratory, office and storage mezzanine.

Tank storage will remain in wineries ‘one’ and ‘two and the current underground cellar space in the original winery will become a show cellar with the opportunity to open for visitors.

Two years in the planning, the new winery was “critical for production and the ability to increase future space, especially on the back of the record 2018 harvest”, said Roberts.

The new winery officially launched next year as part of Ridgeview’s 25 anniversary celebrations, which will see a string of events taking place throughout the year.