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AXA head to make English sparkling wines

AXA wine boss Christian Seely has set up his own English sparkling wine venture.

Seely, managing director of prestigious estates including Château Pichon-Longueville Baron and Quinta do Noval, has co-founded Seely & Coates Wines – with business partner Nick Coates, an old friend – as an independent project.

A small parcel of wine will be made this year. Seely told decanter.com, ‘We are kitting out a winery on site and will vinify the first wine this year and it will be released in time for Christmas 2011.’


The Hampshire vineyard has five hectares of Pinot Noir and German varieties and a further seven hectares have been planted in the chalky soils with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir this spring. It is estimated total production capacity could reach 60,000-70,000 bottles in the future.

Seely’s wife Corinne, a former winemaker at Domaine de Chevalier in the Graves and a white wine specialist, will make the base wines. Consultants brought in from Champagne will oversee the sparkling process.

Seely added, ‘We would like to make a white and a rosé sparkling wine with both a non- vintage cuvée and a vintage cuvée that stays on its lees longer.’

‘People will be able to buy online and we will hope to sell as much as can to private customers. When the time comes, we will look for a distributor to get the wines into top-end restaurants and hotels.’

The company also hopes to build a cellar door to welcome tourists in the future

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Written by Rebecca Gibb

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