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Black Chalk expands into vineyards

Published:  06 January, 2020

Hampshire winery Black Chalk has leased four vineyard sites from Fullerton Estate in the Test Valley.

The vineyards – named Hide, Rivers, The Levels and The Circle – comprise 12ha and are currently planted with Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Pinot Précoce.

Black Chalk was founded in 2018 and currently produces two traditional-method sparkling wines, the Classic and the Wild Rose, blended from Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir.

The company hopes the new sites will enable it to expand into both single-vineyard production and still wines for the first time.

Jacob Leadley, Black Chalk’s co-founder, winemaker and chief executive, said: “We will be looking for stand-out clones to produce small-batch single-vineyard wines that continue to showcase what is possible when quality is put at the top of the list.

“Now that we have our own vineyards, we can control how our fruit is grown and make decisions based on quality; this is the next logical step for us.”

As Harpers reported, Black Chalk received £1.5m in backing last September, with funding coming from the EU Leader Programme alongside investments from Kenya Matsumoto, who owns Mayfair-based Japanese restaurant, Cubé, and Plumpton graduate Justin Bache.

The funding has enabled the opening of a tasting room and shop. The new winery is scheduled to complete in June this year.

Black Chalk has also expanded its team with the hire of assistant winemaker Zoë Driver from Hattingley Valley.

Leadley said: “Zoë is a very talented young winemaker and will be a fantastic addition to the Black Chalk team. We will be working together on existing and new wines and she will also be given free rein to pursue her own passion project at the winery.”

The company is currently looking to recruit a vineyard manager to complete the team.