UK winemaker Chapel Down toasts ‘perfect growing conditions’ as Europe battles mammoth heatwaves
Chapel Down is set to reap the rewards of “perfect growing conditions” as southern Europe battles monstrous heatwaves, the boss of the English wine producer has said.
The Kent firm, which is pushing ahead with plans to double the size of its business by 2026, saw sales rise 21% to £8.37m in the first half of the year.
Chief Andrew Carter said the colder weather in the UK puts it at an advantage for growing grapes, while European countries such as Italy, Spain and France struggle with extreme temperatures.
The UK tends to be around a degree cooler than Champagne, France, famous for producing sparkling wine, Carter added.
But there have been more and more extreme weather conditions in southern Europe, Carter said.
Harvest year? Chapel Down, which is moving forward with plans to double the size of its business by 2026, saw sales rise 21% to £8.37m in the first half of the year.
He continued: ‘I really feel sorry for them but it reiterates the opportunity to produce wine in this country.’
Heat waves and droughts can cause grapes to stop ripening, causing the grapes to taste bitter and be smaller than normal.
The UK climate produces a wine that is “crisper, fresher and more elegant in style” than that of other regions, he said.
The company said its growing conditions “so far have been positive and vines are developing above seasonal averages.”
After a record crop of 2050 tonnes in 2022, Chapel Down anticipates “another successful and high-yielding crop”.
The company’s spirits sales had been boosted by its sponsorship of events such as English Cricket, Royal Ascot, and the Oxford versus Cambridge boat race.
Although the cost of living had resulted in a slight drop in what customers used to spend when visiting Chapel Down wineries, the brand still managed to be seen as “very affordable luxury”.