With the Chapel Down 2022 harvest now complete, we are pleased to announce the vintage has resulted in exceptional grape quality and yield.
Across our 750 acres already under vine, we have delivered a record tonnage of our key sparkling wine grapes, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, as part of a total harvest of over 2,000 tonnes. This compares favourably with last year’s, weather affected, harvest of ~1,400 tonnes. This year’s harvest is expected to enable the production of approximately 2 million bottles of high-quality sparkling and still wines.
This year’s harvest started at the end of August and has provided an excellent yield, as a result of a long, warm summer coupled with the outstanding terroir of our vineyards and world-class viticulture team. Our recent investment to extend the winery at Tenterden in Kent will enable us to efficiently process the harvest, underpinning greater volumes of sparkling and still wines in 2023 as well as increased stocks of traditional method sparkling wines from 2025.
We continue to expand our capacity, to capitalise on the growing English sparkling wine market, which grew by 29% in 2021*. We have planted 38 additional acres of vines this year, and expect to plant a further 118 acres in the near-term, meaning we will exceed 900 acres by the summer of 2023. we continue to look at investments to drive capacity to support our longer-term growth ambitions and, amongst other initiatives, are in active discussions to source new, high quality land for further vineyard plantings.
Andrew Carter, Chief Executive at Chapel Down Group, said: “This exceptional harvest has been achieved thanks to the skill and dedication of our talented team. English wine is enjoying rapid growth as producers like Chapel Down benefit from optimal conditions and sustained investment. Our strong performance in the first half of the year and the bumper harvest we have announced today leave Chapel Down well on track to meet our target to double the size of the business by 2026.”
Josh Donaghay-Spire, Chief Winemaker & Operations Director, said: “Early indications were that this harvest would be a strong one and it has not disappointed either on yield or quality. We expect the earlier harvest to result in a riper style of wine akin to that found in the successful 2018 or 2020 vintages, and we are excited to learn what we can achieve with this year’s crop.
“Over the last fifty years we have found our feet as a wine region, with England consistently producing world-class wine that wins trophies at international competitions and receives acclaim across the globe. There is now huge potential to build upon the great assets of our climate and exceptional geology and discover how truly great English Wine can be. We are optimistic that this harvest could be the best yet.”
*Wines of Great Britain (WineGB) estimates that the English wine market grew to 9.3m bottles in 2021, with the English sparkling wine market growing by +29% to 5.8m bottles in 2021.