Ancre Hill Estates, one of the top Welsh wine producers, has taken the first step towards tripling production by planting 8,000 new Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vines on 11 acres of virgin land.

The planting took place at the winery’s site at Newton Court Farm, just north east of Monmouth. The aim is to increase annual still and sparkling wine production from 15,000 bottles per year to 50,000 by 2022.

Owners Richard and Joy Morris acquired the 120-acre farm in 2014, complete with farmhouse, cider press and outbuildings. From the beginning they recognised that some of the South/ South West facing slopes had a very similar terroir to The Ancre Hill, where the original vineyards and winery are based.

The new vineyard is the largest single plot planted at any one time across Wales, both in terms of the number of vines and acreage. A further 15 acres will also be planted next year on the adjacent field, bringing Ancre Hill Estate’ total vineyard area to over 12 hectares.

The site has now been planted with 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay vines, sourced from France. They will be farmed bio-dynamically for the production of both still and sparkling wines. It is expected that the first grapes will be harvested for natural wine production in three years’ time.

Richard Morris said: “We selected a variety of different clones and rootstocks for both the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, suitable for the mudstone/ sandstone soil in the vineyard. These were inter-planed in each block to increase bio-diversity.”