England's leading sparkling producer sold
- Thursday 9 March 2006
The Sussex vineyard, England’s leading sparkling wine producer, has been sold by owner Andy Hill to investor Eric Heerema. decanter.com understands the price paid is in the region of £7.5m (€10.9m).
The sale includes a fine Elizabethan manor house, the business, the stock, goodwill and 45 acres (18ha) of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay at its peak.
English wine expert Stephen Skelton MW says, ‘this is by far the biggest investment ever made in English wine.’
Wine enthusiast Heerema, who already owns a vineyard near Petworth, Sussex, has acquired Nyetimber with a view to investing in the vineyard. It is understood he will be adding some 120acres (49ha) of plantings, either at Nyetimber or at his Petworth property.
He said, ‘We will be planting more vines this year to enable us to increase production.’
Management consultant Christopher Varley has been appointed as interim General Manager. Dermot Sugrue will continue as winemaker.
Nyetimber is one of England’s best-known and most-awarded producers. Its sparkling wines have regularly held their own against the top Champagnes in blind tastings on both sides of the Channel.
It is served at Buckingham Palace and Downing Street, at restaurants such as Gordon Ramsay, Petrus, Oxo Tower, Rhodes 24 and Rick Stein, and is sold at Waitrose, Majestic and independent retailers.