English sparkling wine producer Nyetimber will rival Denbies as the UK’s largest wine producer, it was revealed today.

The award-winning West Sussex-based winery says it will have 105ha (hectares) under vine by May 2007, challenging the Surrey’s Denbies with 106ha of vineyard.

Nyetimber, which is owned by Dutch venture capitalist Eric Hereema, has grown nearly ten times its original size in the last two years and its owner aims to produce 700,000 bottles per year – marginally more than Denbies and 200,000 bottles more than top Champagne producer Krug.

‘We’ve grown hugely,’ Nyetimber vineyard manager Paul Woodrow-Hill told UK drinks trade magazine Harpers. ‘The current winery is built to cope with 15ha.’

The equal footing with Denbies will be brief, however, with the Surrey winery also announcing plans to increase it acreage, and expects to expand to 121ha in time for the London Olympics in 2012.

Nyetimber was bought by Heerema for an estimated £7.5m (€10.9m) – believed to be the largest sum ever invested in a UK vineyard. It is one of England’s best-known and most-awarded producers.

Written by Oliver Styles