Chapel Down, which is based at Tenterden in Kent, takes its name from a vineyard on the Isle of Wight. When the company was established in 1992 the aim was to utilise grapes from vineyards across the UK and to concentrate corporate efforts on winemaking and marketing. The company moved to Tenterden in 1995, after taking over a vineyard and winery (Rock Lodge) that had been established by Stephen Skelton in 1977. In 2000 the company was further enlarged by a merger between Chapel Down, Lamberhurst and Carr Taylor. Current CEO Fraser Thompson came on board in 2001 and has successfully steered the company through its continued expansion.
In addition to the 6 ha vineyard at Tenterden they own a 37 ha vineyard at Kits Coty which is 35 km to the north on the North Downs. Additionally they have long-term contracts for the supply of grapes with 13 growers in Kent, Essex and Hampshire. Currently (2014) this provides them with fruit from a total of 118 ha. The main grape varieties they utilise are Bacchus, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
The company is listed on ISDX Growth Market where the company is currently (2014) valued at £27 million. £4.4 million was raised in 2013 from large investors and institutions through a new equity issue. A further £4 million was raised from private investors through crowdfunding in 2014. These funds will enable the company to increase production of both wines (and beer) through the planting of new vines and installing new production equipment. Current plans foresee the current 118 ha of producing vineyard area expanding to 275 ha in 2019.
There is an important visitor centre at Tenterden which in 2013 attracted ca. 50,000 visitors.
Exports of Chapel Down are made to the Far East and US.
(Images © Chapel Down)
Tel: 01580 763033
Winemaker: Josh Donaghay-Spire
BrutCentury Extra Dry
Blanc de Blancs
Rosé Vintage Reserve Brut