Chapel Down February newsletter from Mark, MD

“No sign of the January blues here at Chapel Down as we have been gearing up for an exciting year of growth.

In the vineyards the team have been busy pruning ahead of the growing season to come and planning the first plantings at our new prime site, Boarley Farm, which neighbours our single-vineyard estate Kit’s Coty. And in the winery, Josh and his team are working through the pleasingly gargantuan task of processing the wines from last year’s bumper harvest. Flint Dry and English Rose done… now on to Bacchus!

We are excited about our third year of partnership with the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race and planning is well underway for race day which is Sunday 7th April. Once again we will have a bar in Bishop’s Park where we look forward to seeing as many of you as possible to raise a glass to the victors as they dwarf the JEROBOAMS of Chapel Down Brut on the winning podium!

In December last year we released some cracking partner wines under the ‘Great Minds Drink Alike’ brand. Robust red wines from France, Italy and Spain that we simply could not make in England and are entirely complementary to our own range. The reaction has been overwhelmingly positive and we are now working, quick smart, with more friends around the world to unearth further gems for release later this year… watch this space!

Turning to Spirits, the outlook is equally cheery.

It was announced last week that there are now more distilleries in England than Scotland for the first time, which is of course driven by the extraordinary growth of Gin. We’ve been truly humbled by the response to our Bacchus Gin and Chardonnay Vodka over the last 12 months as bars, restaurants, hotels and national retailers have taken on our products in increasing numbers. The Gin is universally well received and the Vodka seems to have gone down well too, winning a Double Gold in the Spirits Masters competition.

Perhaps the most exciting news of all – we were thrilled to open our own distillery, Chapel Down Gin Works & Restaurant, in December of last year. Situated on Goods Way in the heart of King’s Cross, ‘Helga’ our beautiful still takes pride of place on the ground floor, with a cocktail bar overlooking the terrace and canal. Then upstairs a stunning lounge bar leading to the restaurant. An incredible site and kudos to the team who have delivered this. Helga will be busy making small batch gins throughout the year which will inspire the drinks in the bars and the menu pairings in the restaurant.

We invite you all to come and discover the delicious cocktails concocted for your drinking pleasure or perhaps some of you, like Noel Coward, will take a simpler approach: “A perfect martini should be made by filling a glass with gin and then waving it in the general direction of Italy.”

An exciting start to the year… I’ll be back with more news soon! Happy February!”

Mark Harvey signature