Vintage year for Chapel Down

Sales sparkle for Kent winemaker

Kent winemaker Chapel Down saw sales and profits increase by more than a third last year as the Tenterden-based company benefited from one of its best harvests on record.

Chapel Down, which has won numerous awards for its wines and accolades from the business community for its pioneering use of crowd funding to raise capital, has been expanding in recent years to produce beers and ciders.

Part of this process saw the firm successfully raise £1.71million last year to build a new brewery in Ashford.

In addition, the company is listed on the ISDX market, described by some investors as AIM’s ‘little brother’, where it has a current market cap of around £33million.

Sales at the firm rose by 34 per cent in the year ending December 31 to £8.18million while gross profit climbed to £3.02million, up from £2.22million in 2014.

However, the company did record its second year of pre-tax losses, which widened to £279,000, from £83,000 the previous year.

Despite suffering ‘no real impact’ from any market uncertainty caused by the upcoming European Referendum, the vineyard voiced concern about its ability to employ EU workers and access markets in the event of a Brexit.

“Maintaining and developing a strong brand with high-quality people is our best defence [against these risks],” the company stated.

Speaking to investors the Chief Executive, Frazer Thompson, said: “Chapel Down has enjoyed another excellent year of growth.

“In a highly competitive trading environment your company has continued to invest… as we build a healthy, sustainable and innovative drinks company with an exciting future both at home in the UK and in sophisticated drinks markets abroad,” he added.

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