English wine producer Bolney Wine Estate has more than doubled the size of its vineyard by merging with the neighbouring Pookchurch Vineyard in Sussex.
The addition of Pookchurch’s 67 acres (27 hectares) of vines will expand Bolney’s total vineyard area to 104 acres (42ha), enabling the Sussex company to expand wine production to about 300,000 bottles a year by 2022.
Pookchurch Vineyard, located near the village of Cuckfield, was created by David Wood in 2016 on gentle south-facing slopes with a view of the South Downs.
The silty clay soils were planted with a mix of Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir for sparkling wine production, and Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir and Bacchus for still winemaking.
The vineyard produced its first small crop of 29 tonnes in 2018, which was sold to Bolney. It is expected to yield 200 tonnes of grapes when it reaches full production.
‘Merging with Pookchurch’s vineyard has strengthened our business for the future,’ said Sam Linter, Bolney MD and lead winemaker.
She added: ‘Both Bolney Wine Estate and Pookchurch Vineyard share the same outstanding sandstone soils and aspect, so there is a lot of potential for new single vineyard wines.
‘It’s also an opportunity to increase research, development and benefit from greater economies of scale across the larger vineyard.’
Pookchurch founder David Wood said Bolney was a ‘perfect fit’ for the business. He added: ‘This is a really exciting period of growth for us; by combining our vineyards we are in a powerful position to grow the brand and facilities across the estate. This merger puts us within the top 10 of English wine brands.’
The merger comes as Bolney prepares to open its new winery in February.