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Kent sparkling wine sales soar as Britons ditch champagne | United Kingdom | News UK News

The Chapel Down winery recorded record revenues last year as Britons developed a taste for the sparkling wines produced at its Kent vineyard. The company sold 1.5 million bottles of wine and spirits in 2021, with sparkling wine sales up 39% from the previous year.

The company, which owns 780 acres of vineyards in south-east England, saw its total turnover rise to £16.9m, from £15.6m in 2020.

The managing director of Chapel Down said “English wine is booming”, despite fears Brexit fallout and poor harvests could hurt the industry.

Andrew Carter told the Financial Times that people were “very proud” to drink local sparkling wines produced at the company’s vineyards.

He said ‘champagne consumers’ were a major source of Chapel Down’s volume growth as more Britons acquired a taste for sparkling wine instead of French champagne.

The winery has vineyards in Tenterden, Kent, and said it expects to maintain its growth rate of its sparkling wines despite having one of the toughest harvests in recent times in 2021.

Sales of sparkling wine rose last year, with Britons drinking 151million bottles totaling almost £1.4billion, according to the Wine and Spirit Trade Association. That compared to 17million bottles of champagne worth £610million.

The drink’s growing popularity in recent years has been linked to a number of factors, including consumers finding new drinks to enjoy at home during Covid-19 shutdowns, while bars and restaurants are remained closed.

Analysts have also suggested there could be an element of patriotism among Britons choosing to buy locally produced alternatives, as sales of English sparkling wine soared during the European Football Championships last year , according to IWSR Drinks Market Analysis.

The former chief executive of Chapel Down has raised concerns that Britain’s exit from the European Union would be detrimental to the UK wine industry.

Frazer Thompson has warned that restrictions on the movement of people will hurt England’s wine industry, which depends on seasonal labor for picking grapes.

However, although the company said the “Brexit fallout” made it more difficult to access “foreign workers for our viticulture”, it added that its scale meant it still attracted enough people.

He had been loss-making for the previous two years, largely due to his Curious Drinks subdivision, which he put into administration and sold to former Patisserie Valerie president Luke Johnson.

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Adverse weather conditions last year had reduced industry grape yields by around 30% and Chapel Down’s yield by 23%, dealing a blow to the company’s stock levels in 2022.

However, Mr Carter said the company had “worked hard to build up stocks of our sparkling wine over the past four years” and planned to plant 150 acres of vines this year and next, bringing its vineyards to 900 acres.

The company supplied English sparkling wine for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding in 2011.

Chapel Down served Brut Rose, made from its pinot noir grapes, to 650 guests at the royal couple’s reception at Buckingham Palace.

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This notice was published: 2022-04-26 17:17:00

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