Chapel Down boss: ‘We could sell double what we have available’

Drinks: Wines
Location: England
Other: Business

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.

About Author

Chris Losh

After five years working on My Weekly magazine (during which time he learned how to write horoscopes and make things out of mince) in 1995 Chris Losh entered the world of drinks writing and, despite all advice from his doctor – and the wishes of most South African winemakers – has stayed there ever since. He began on Wine and Spirit International, editing it for several years before moving on to edit Wine Magazine. Both publications have since gone the way of the Dodo, but he claims to have nothing to do with their demise, and his alibi appears solid, since he was freelance writing for anyone who would pay him at the time. In 2007, he helped to set up both Imbibe magazine and the Sommelier Wine Awards, and has spent much of the last three years eating, drinking, and listening to French sommeliers talk about minerality. In 2009 he was shortlisted for the Louis Roederer Feature Writer of the Year, but didn’t win. Perhaps he should have stuck to horoscopes. And mince.

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