Hush Heath to open £4m winery and more than triple production
Kentish wine estate Hush Heath is to open its new £4 million winery and visitor centre in August as it aims to increase production from 150,000 bottles to 500,000 a year over the next five years.
The new facility, which includes a winery, shop, 200-seat tasting room and terrace bar, was designed by Nick Mumby of Design Quarter and took a year to construct. The winery will be open to the public for August while there will be an ‘open weekend’ for the entire site 22 and 23 September.
To increase production from 150,000 to 500,000 bottles a year, within the next 12 months, Hush Heath will be planting a further 30 acres of vineyards on existing land within the 400 acre estate, taking its total area under vine to 130 acres. The planting will consist of predominantly sparkling varieties (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier) along with Pinot Blanc and Bacchus. The first vines were planted at the winery in 2002.
The wine estate is also hoping to more than double visitor numbers from 20,000 to 50,000 per annum over the next five years.
Producer at Hush Heath Richard Balfour-Lynn commented: “At Hush Heath Estate we want to make people smile, and our new winery facilities really take wine tourism to the next level – they are comparable with the best of Napa Valley’s experiences. After a year in the making, the team is confident that the new winery will have been worth the wait. As a premium brand we are opening our doors to welcome more people wanting to enjoy wine entertainment, and we plan to produce many more bottles, whilst at all times retaining the philosophy of a boutique producer.
“Our challenge as an industry is to maintain the quality of English wine, the global enthusiasm for which has been astonishing, and we are only at the beginning of the English wine story – rather like the Champagne houses in 1900. That is one of the reasons we opened our Hush Heath Wine Club – it’s an opportunity for those looking to share the journey of English wine through the eyes of Hush Heath Estate.
“Members can experience the grape harvest, take part in blending and dosage trials with our winemakers, taste wines in tank, and join wine’s journey into bottle and maturity. Membership provides the chance to get involved in the full working of an English winery, without the need to own one”.
Hush Heath produces a flagship pink sparkler along with a brut NV, a blanc de blancs and sparkling red along with a number of ciders. It has also recently expanded its still wine range with the addition of a Bacchus named after the vineyard dog, Liberty the Dalmatian. The Bacchus joins a still rosé, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.