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Exton Park unveils expansion plans

Published:  18 June, 2019

Exton Park has unveiled ambitious expansion plans including the construction of a 'temple of wine’, Harpers has learned.

The English wine producer said it is expanding its existing tasting room having secured planning permission for the building, which will be extended to include two new storeys and a large storage cellar built into the chalk soil of its vineyard.

The winery said the investment figure would run into “several million” pounds, but declined to provide a total investment figure. This however is thought to be at least £3m.

It said the expansion plan includes the extension of its winery - completed this spring to allow the single estate vineyard to annually process 200 tonnes of grapes, with eight new bespoke wine production tanks scheduled to arrive at the vineyard this August.

Grape volumes from the 2018 bumper crop in England led to logistics issues particularly for contract winemakers.

“The big theme of the moment for English wine producers is ensuring adequate storage capacity and processing facilities,” said Kit Ellen, Exton Park’s commercial director.

The expanded building, which is scheduled for completion in the autumn of 2020, would include large windows and a spiral staircase giving it a “Cathedral-like feel”, he added.

The fresh investment follows Exton Park setting up an employee ownership scheme in 2016, providing its winemaker, vineyard manager and commercial director shares in the company, which is majority-owned by businessman Malcolm Isaac.

The producer said it was looking to create two employment roles in sales as a result of the expansion plans, which include driving new exports to the US and to Hong Kong.

In May this year Exton Park planted five new acres Pinot Meunier bringing the total planted area at the vineyard to 60 acres (24ha).

Exton Park’s winemaker Corinne Seeley said Exton Park would continue to maintain quality low yield production of about seven tonnes of grapes per hectare as well as its policy of keeping back reserves for its production of non-vintage wines.

Exton Park had kept back about 75% of its 2018 vintage for reserve wine, she added.