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South of England is ‘new frontier’ of wine, billionaire claims

A billionaire who owns the second largest rosé producer in Provence has claimed the South of England is a new frontier” in wine after buying a Sussex vineyard earlier this year.

Kingscote’s 15-acre vineyard is planted with Bacchus, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier grape varieties. [picture credit: Savills]Mark Dixon, who owns the Château De Berne wine estate in Provence, bought Kingscote Vineyard in East Grinstead last year after the sudden death of its owner last May.

Speaking to the Evening Standard, Dixon, who made his money from serviced offices in London and the UK, said he intended to expand his wine estates in the South of England, saying it could be the “new frontier for wine”.

The south facing vineyards were first planted in 2010 by then owner, marketing executive Christen Monge, who wanted to establish a commercial winery, and have since been extended. The 15-acre vineyard now comprises Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Bacchus, Pinot Blanc and Regent grapes which produces around 100,000 bottles a year. The winery overseen by head winemaker Owen Elias, who spent ten years as head winemaker at Chapel Down and has made wines for around 20 other English vineyards, as well as wines for retailers Waitrose, Marks & Spencer, and Sainsbury’s. Kingscote’s wines include a Bacchus Chardonnay, an Albariño Bacchus 2013, a lightly oaked Bacchus called Fat Fumé, a single varietal Bacchus, a white Pinot Noir and a sparkling wine, Kingscote Cuvée Christen NV that was first released in July 2016. It also produces a sparkling ‘cyder’ from its two-acre apple orchard.

Chateau de Berne, which includes a five-star hotel and restaurant in addition to the 121 hectare vineyard, produces around 5 million bottles of wine a year and has sales of around  €40 million (£35 million), making it the second largest producer in Provence.

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