The expansion of England’s biggest winery, Chapel Down, cannot come soon enough, according to the company’s managing director, Mark Harvey. ‘We could sell double the wine we have available at the moment,’ he told Imbibe.
A combination of rapid sales growth and a reduced 2017 vintage are likely to make 2018 a year where priority is given to fulfilling commitments to existing customers rather than expansion. Though Chapel Down is always on the lookout for more premium on-trade accounts, particularly for its Kits Coty (still and sparkling) estate wines.
‘There are lots of places I’d love it to be and we’ll continue to expand those,’ said Harvey.
At the end of 2017, the company secured £20m of funding to increase its production. Expansion of the winery will begin this year and, with increased vineyard commitments, should allow Chapel Down to double production in the near future.
Ambitions for its Curious beer brand is obvious, with the recent hiring of ex-Brewdog MD, Gareth Bath, and Harvey says we should expect to see a major ramping up of the company’s Bacchus gin and Chardonnay vodka.
Launched in the autumn, the products were trialled to consumers in Majestic and ‘flew through’ according to Harvey, who expects and 80/20 split of gin to vodka between the two products going forward.