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Chapel Down creates England’s largest estate in Kent

Published:  29 April, 2019

Chapel Down has commenced planting at its 388 acre Boarley Farm site. Together with its Kit’s Coty and Boxley sites, Chapel Down will have a 620 acre estate of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier plantings to produce sparkling wine.

“This is a really exciting development,” said Chapel Down MD Mark Harvey. “Demand for our traditional method sparkling wine is sky high and these plantings enable us to really accelerate sales in the years to come. And with wines of great quality too - we know this from the overwhelmingly positive reaction to the Kit’s Coty collection from the same estate”.

Chapel Down also said it plans to start using ebony glass to offer the “best protection” in bottle. Winemaker Josh Donaghay-Spire said the “move to dark amber glass on our sparkling wine is the result of an internal five year project into the impact of UV light on wine".

“We spend a huge amount of energy producing the fruit right in the vineyards and then years to make and mature the wine so it makes sense to remove any potential risk of this quality being eroded due to glass colour.”

The move to ebony glass will be phased in with each new vintage while the packaging of core Chapel Down sparkling wines will be revamped for clearer differentiation between non-vintage to vintage and white to rose.

Chapel Down also launched two gins and a vodka in the last 18 months, made from the grape skins of the previous year’s harvest.

“We are not bound by 350 years of red tape in the wine industry in this country,” said Harvey. “We should learn from the extraordinary innovation and growth of the Spirits and Beer industries. So long as we deliver on mouth-wateringly delicious drinks and enhance the premium positioning of the Chapel Down brand then our history of leadership and innovation is set to continue.”

Last year saw English and Welsh wines produce a record-breaking 15.6 million bottles of still and sparkling wine, up from 5.9 million in 2017.

In 2018, 1.6 million vines were planted over 1000 acres and vine plantings are predicted to exceed two million mark in 2019.