Sparkling future for English wines

Grape expectations

KENT’S sparkling wine producers recorded surging revenues in the first half of the year as they continue to benefit from growing demand for English wine, results have shown.

Exports climbed by 30 per cent at the Gusbourne winery at Appledore, near Tenterden, which has expanded its customer base to 15 countries.

The AIM-listed business recorded sales of £378,000 in the six months to June 30, which is up 42 per cent on the same period in 2016. Chief Executive Charlie Holland claimed the increase shows ‘solid progress’ has been made at the firm.

However, shares in the company remained stuck at 48p since the news was announced on Thursday September 28, as the company continues to grapple with a pre-tax loss that expanded to £815,000 during the six-month period, up from a loss of £696,000 last year. The main drag on their profit was rising administration costs and finance expense.

However, Mr Holland said: “We are particularly pleased with the contribution of export sales, which have exceeded expectations in the first half of the year.”Just down the road, neighbouring wine producer Chapel Down also recorded bumper sales growth when
the results were revealed last week. Chief Executive Frazer Thompson said interest in English wine has ‘never been higher’ after his slightly older company saw revenues climb
22 per cent to £5million during the first half of the year.

The company, which over the past few years has expanded into the beer and cider markets, planted 50 new acres of vineyards this year. Pre-tax losses for the NEX-listed
company came in at £91,965. Mr Thompson said the vineyard had taken the decision to ‘continue reinvesting any surplus cash in our people, our systems and our brands’.

He added: “Interest in English wines – and Chapel Down in particular – has never been higher, and is exciting the wine world as we help to grow the sparkling wine market as
well as innovate and surprise with our still wines.”


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