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English wine demand still rising, says Chapel Down chief

Public interest in English wine ‘shows no sign of abating’, according to the head of Chapel Down, which sold more than £4m-worth of wine, beer and cider in the first half of the year.

The company’s sales rose by 26% to £4.1m in the first six months of 2016 versus the same period of 2015.

Wine sales increased by 14% to £2.6m and beer and cider sales from its Curious Drinks division soaring 55% to £1.5m.

Chapel Down’s gross profit for wine was up 18% to just over £1m, and up 55% to nearly £0.5m for beer and cider, but operating profit (EBITDA) was £93,000 as the company continued its investment programme, it said.

Chapel Down said it had planted 95 acres of new vineyards during the six-month period, including 40 acres on newly leased sites in Kent and another 55 acres with contract partners.

‘Consumers’ interest in English wines and specialist or craft beer shows no sign of abating, and Chapel Down has worked hard to be well-positioned to benefit,’ said Frazer Thompson, Chapel Down Group chief executive.

‘We are planting more vines in the finest sites, improving our production facilities, winemaking equipment and systems, and developing our people and brands.’

He added: ‘We are encouraged by the prospect of another good harvest in 2016, with excellent quality, which will enable us to continue to improve the quality of our wines and help our goal to have supply in place to meet future demand.’

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