Denbies Wine Estate has announced it has secured £4 million in funding to create not only a ‘vineyard hotel’ but also significantly increase its sparkling production by the end of 2019.
In what is a major investment for a UK winery in its enotourism offering, work on the 17-room hotel began this September and it is expected to be complete in time for spring of next year.
HSBC UK has provided £1.7m in funding to help transform the existing farmhouse bed and breakfast into a fully fledged hotel, complete with a new bar and restaurant that will “champion” local produce.
Among the features of the new hotel will be the ability to taste Denbies full range of wines from Enomatic machines that will be linked to room key cards, dining spots with views over the vineyards and access to the seven miles of public footpath threaded in and around the estate which includes part of the North Downs Trail and Box Hill.
Denbies COO, Jeannette Simpson, commented: “We have a wonderful site here at Denbies which attracts around 350,000 visitors each year. We have been at the forefront of wine tourism in England since the estate opened and our new hotel, due to open in spring 2019, will be a great addition to our existing hospitality offering.
“The reputation of English wine continues to grow, and wine tourism is an integral part of communicating this message loud and clear. We look forward to offering a world-class vineyard and winery experience here in the heart of the Surrey Hills.”
Nick Hicks, area director for HSBC UK in Sussex and Surrey, said: “This is a hugely exciting investment that will see Denbies Wine Estate transform into a truly unique attraction and retreat that perfectly complements its beautiful surroundings. The funding package provided by HSBC is enabling Denbies to incorporate environmentally-friendly solutions, ensuring the UK’s first Vineyard Hotel will operate sustainably and ethically.
“With an ever-growing demand for quality English wines, this major investment couldn’t be more timely and will underpin the company’s ambitious growth plans over the coming years.”
In addition to the hotel, Denbies is investing several million into a “complete modernisation and expansion of the winery” that will allow it to “quadruple” its production, according to CEO Christopher White.
He continued: “Moreover, our sustained programme of new plantings, as well as planned winery investments, will enable us to expand while continuing to drive the quality of our sparkling wines. We will also make sure that we support growing demand for our full range of still wines, from entry level up to the premium ranges.”
“Extensive” plantings have been underway at the estate throughout 2017 and 2018, including the introduction of six new varieties as part of a programme to expand the estate’s top end range.