Sunday, January 16, 2022

The English sparkling wine brand that competes with French champagne houses

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“Chapel Down is England’s leading winemaker on a mission to forever change the way the world thinks about English wine.”

Chapel Down is England’s leading winemaker on a mission to forever change the way the world thinks about English wine. Its talented winemakers produce premium sparkling and still wines from grapes grown on the chalky terroir of the south-east. In the picturesque market town of Tenterden, Kent, Chapel Down Winery has excellent visitor facilities and welcomes over 60,000 visitors each year.

This week’s 30-second interview is with Andrew Carter, the new CEO of winemaker Chapel Down.

The company is listed on the Aquis Exchange and – alongside institutional backers including Michael Spencer’s IPGL – has a large number of individual shareholders, over 8,500, all of whom are strong supporters of the brand and its products.

2021 has been another exciting year for us as a company. Another year of strong sales as demand continues to grow, with the quality of our wines improving year on year and their appeal further strengthened by the eco-friendly mindset of a growing number of our consumers. Why drink a bottle of champagne imported from France when you have world-class sparkling wines on your doorstep?

Having held this role for a few months, I see many opportunities for the company and brand in the future. It’s great to work with a team inspired by the challenges ahead. Our vision is to be the number one most celebrated English winemaker. We want to increase our business tenfold. The total sparkling wine market in Great Britain is only around 200 million bottles, the champagne market around 21 million – English sparkling wine around 3.5 million. The chance is huge.

With 2022 to go, our available still wines will be impacted by a challenging harvest year for the English wine industry in 2021, but we have substantial stocks of sparkling wine at Chapel Down to continue growing. One of the biggest opportunities for us is to work with far more of the leading bars, restaurants and hotels in the UK and we will launch a new super premium sparkling wine exclusively for these customers from early 2022.

We are in early discussions with our customer partners and there is great confidence in what we can achieve together. The excitement throughout the English wine trade is palpable. The chance to build a wine region doesn’t come around often. Marlborough [in New Zealand] in the 1980s or Germany in the 1970s, for example. Together we create a new wine region.

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