The winery at Chapel Down has grown significantly over the years and can now accommodate a crush of over 600 tonnes, and that figure is set to grow in the future. We have plenty of shiny machines but we put emphasis on having excellent grapes and people ahead of acquiring the latest gadgetry; this is by far the best way to push the boundaries of quality and styles that England can achieve. We produce all Chapel Down wines on the estate, both still and sparkling.
The grapes from our Tenterden and Aylesford vineyards (and from our growers across the South-East) are hand-picked and then immediately transported to the winery in small bins. On arrival they are weighed and analysis is taken of sugar and acid levels. They are then gently tipped into one of our modern membrane presses and the resultant juice fractions are collected in stainless steel tanks.
All still wines and sparkling base wines are fermented with selected yeast strains at cool temperatures for up to 3 weeks. We also undertake small lots of wild ferments each year in tanks and barrels. A part of the Chardonnay for still and sparkling wines is fermented in barrels, and some of the red wine and sparkling base wine is matured in old barriques. These wines are topped and tasted regularly throughout their maturation to ensure freshness and homogeneity. The wines are then racked, blended, stabilised and filtered before bottling.
Our Chapel Down sparkling wines spend up to 3 years on lees, "sur lie" as part of our house style. After the desired period of maturation the bottles are hand transferred to our modern Gyro pallets for riddling. The riddled wines are disgorged on our bottling line, packed and labelled.
Chapel Down's modern winery enables our winemakers to produce smart, varietal and fresh wines that display the best characteristics of our English Vineyards. Additional information can be found on our Process Page
We constantly strive to produce the best wines in the UK; our winemaking team is led by Josh Donaghay-Spire, Josh has worked at Chapel Down for 4 years, prior to which he gained experience in South Africa, Alsace and Champagne, he has a BSc in Viticulture and Oenology from Plumpton College. Josh is supported by talented team of winemakers, viticulturalists and winery production staff.
We conduct guided tours of the winery and vineyards. One of our expert guides will show and explain the winemaking, riddling, disgorging and bottling processes. It is an experience not to be missed.