English wine producer Chapel Down plans to build the largest vineyard in England in a bid to meet anticipated growing demand over the next 25 years.
The producer has made an agreement to lease 157 hectares of land on the North Downs in Kent, and plans to plant vineyards on the site between 2019 and 2021, taking its total leased vineyard area to nearly 319 hectares. When added to its existing owned vineyards and grape supply contacts, this pushes the total area under vine to more than 950 acres.
Chapel Down’s chief executive, Frazer Thompson, said: “We believe this area of the North Downs offers the finest terroir in England for sparkling varieties, and successive excellent crops and critical acclaim for wines from our Kits Coty vineyard prove it.
“This will be the largest vineyard in England, with the potential to produce up to 1m bottles of sparkling wine per annum when mature.”
Trade body Wine GB believes wine makers in England and Wales could be producing 40 million bottles of sparkling wine per year by 2040.