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Grape to glass' first for English producer

Published:  23 July, 2008

Nyetimber, the awarded English sparkling wine producer, has helped to design a unique insurance policy - the first of its kind globally - to protect its grapes against a number of risks, including crop spraying.

The producer worked with Aon, the insurer, to create the policy for English wine growers, which includes protecting vines against contamination by aircraft sprayers, a clause specific to the wine industry.

Underwritten by Aon's marine insurance sector, it also covers vines against damage by other aircraft, fire, lightning, explosion, malicious damage and hail. Storage and distribution of wine is also protected, as well as duty - for example, tax can be claimed if a crate of wine smashes before it is sold.

The policy will now be offered to other English wine growers and then launched globally. A spokeswoman said there had been interest from California, New Zealand and Australia, as this was the first cover of its kind to protect wine from grape to glass'.

Eric Heerema, chief executive officer at Nyetimber, said he was delighted to have helped develop the policy, especially given the long-term investment we are making in vines, equipment and buildings to maintain, improve and develop the quality of Nyetimber'.

The West Sussex vineyard hopes to increase its production seven-fold by 2012, from 70,000 bottles to 500,000, and approached Aon to design insurance cover which would protect its key asset - the grape - throughout its life cycle and until the wine arrives safely with its customers'.

Gill Bewes, UK broking manager for Aon's marine unit, said as the process of sparkling wine making, including maturation, was a lengthy one, wine growers need to put a figure on the cost of any interruption to their process'.

Nyetimber's 1998 Classic Cuve won the trophy for best bottle-fermented sparkling wine at last year's International Wine and Spirit Competition. It won the same trophy in 1998 for its 1993 vintage.