Lord Foster’s architecture firm, Foster & Partners, has turned its focus to the UK winery scene after previously designing cellars at Château Margaux and Le Dôme in Bordeaux, as well as the Bodegas Portia winery in Ribera del Duero.
It has drawn up designs for a winemaking and tourism centre known as The Kentish Wine Vault, to be based near Cuxton in south-east England.
If built, the English wine facility could make between one and five million bottles of wine per year, according to Vineyard Farms, the group behind the project.
A public consultation on the plans was launched last month and a spokesperson for Vineyard Farms said the group intends to apply for planning permission.
Gary Smith, CEO of Vineyard Farms, said, ‘The Kentish Wine Vault will kickstart a revolution in the English wine industry. Our vision is to produce a domestic sparkling wine which is accessible to all, whilst matching the high-quality standards of European alternatives.’
The UK’s wine industry has been enjoying a boom period in recent years, with vineyard land rising rapidly and both sparkling and still wines scooping major awards.
Smith said the Kentish Wine Vault would create hundreds of jobs and that the team is committed to high environmental standards, as well as innovative design. The group said the project will deliver a ‘multi-million pound investment’ in the local economy.
‘The wine making and bottling facility will be largely underground to minimise any visual impact on the surrounding area,’ said Smith in a statement released at the beginning of the public consultation period last month.
The group added that the new facility ‘will be operationally zero carbon’ and is set to included new planting and habitat creation, as well as a ‘green’ roof to help support biodiversity.
Alongside the winery, there would also be a restaurant, tasting space and visitor centre at the venue.