The south-east coast of England is synonymous with the white cliffs of Dover. It is this iconic chalk soil, the same as that of Champagne – just 90 miles to the south, coupled with our cool climate that enables us to produce truly world-class sparkling wines, as well as aromatic white wines and elegant light red wines from grapes such as Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc and Bacchus.
At Chapel Down, our own vineyards are in Kent, where we believe the finest overall conditions for grape growing exists in England. However, we also source our fruit from a wider geographic area – from Essex to Hampshire - to ensure we maintain consistency and that the risks of crop failure through frost, unusual weather events and climate are therefore reduced.
We have 13 growers supplying us with fruit who have the benefit of a long term contract with us, and who enjoy the help and advice we can provide from our own vineyard experience to enable them to grow better, more valuable fruit.
Meet our Viticulturalist
"By combining new viticultural techniques with the years of knowledge from our established vineyards, we are able to use the best of traditional and innovative practices to produce grapes of the highest standard. It is the evolving and dynamic approach to our grape growing that helps us to keep ahead of the game in a rapidly expanding industry in the UK".
Richard Lewis, Chapel Down Viticulturalist
Our Main Grapes
Bacchus (Silvaner x Riesling) x Müller-Thurgau
Named after the Roman God of wine, this is England’s answer to Sauvignon Blanc and the country’s most planted white grape variety. Depending on where it is planted, the style can vary from punchy Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc characters (ripe tropical fruit and freshly cut grass) to the more restrained style of Sancerre (citrus fruit and gooseberry).
Grown largely across the south-east for sparkling wine production, plantings are increasing as demand increases. Our main site for Chardonnay is our Kits Coty vineyard in Aylesford, Kent, this produces fruit with excellent acidity and minerality for our sparkling wines and generous texture and weight for our still wines.
The classic grape variety for Burgundy and Champagne, Pinot Noir is also increasingly important for English sparkling wines. The variety thrives in cool climates and produces delicate thin-skinned grapes with low tannins and an abundance of red berry fruit characters. Pinot Noir is used in the majority of our sparkling wines, as well as in our more limited production red and rose still wines.