Denbies Wine Estate is expected to increase its winery workforce by a third by the end of 2019 due to an increase in production.
England’s largest single estate vineyard is already part-way through a major investment programme to span the next three years, creating multiple new employment opportunities, it said.
Phase one of the winery expansion programme was completed at the start of April with the installation of the new fully automated disgorging line and riddling cages. This represents a “huge increase in production capacity” for its sparkling wines, according to Denbies.
The new line means production speed has been increased fourfold, giving the winery the opportunity to produce and process a larger quantity of Denbies’ own wine. The automated machine also has the capacity to disgorge both half bottles and magnums.
Denbies is one of only a few wineries in the south-east of England to offer contract disgorging facilities for other English vineyards.
Winery expansion will continue into 2021 with increased tank capacity and increased cellar storage.
Christopher White, Denbies chief executive, said: “The demand for contract winemaking solutions has grown exponentially over the past 10 years with the growth of vineyard plantings in the UK. This new equipment will enable us to quadruple our sparkling wine production capacity by the end of 2019.
“Moreover, our programme of new plantings, and planned winery investments will enable us to expand, while continuing to drive the quality of our sparkling wines. The additional winery expansion programme will also ensure that we support growing demand for our full range of still wines, from entry level up to the premium ranges.”
Denbies carbon neutral 17 bedroom Vineyard Hotel is also on track to open in summer 2019.
The company, which is based in Dorking, currently produces more than 450,000 bottles of wine per year. It currently has 265 acres under vine, which is 10% of the UK’s plantings. The first vines were planted on the estate in 1986.