English sparkling wine brand Nyetimber has begun its pre-planned vineyard expansion by planting 195,000 vines covering 42 hectares at a new site in Kent.

It has also replanted 10,000 vines covering 2.5 hectares at the estate’s main vineyard in West Sussex, this will enable Nyetimber to produce on average an additional 220,000 bottles a year when the new vines reach maturity in 2023-24.

The early morning sun shines across The Nyetimber Vineyard on a misty morning. The Vineyard is starting the annual harvest. Photograph By Chris Gorman on behalf of Nyetimber.

This expansion is carrying on despite the challenging trading conditions and it represents the second largest vine planting programme to have been undertaken by Nyetimber in its 30-year history. It reflects the long-term forecast growth in demand for Nyetimber’s wines in the UK and internationally.

Nyetimber’s new vineyard, comprising Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, is near the village of Thurnham in Kent on what was an arable field on the Kent Downs. Identifying this suitable location has taken years of research to find the right site where geology, soil and aspect all come together. The site sits on a chalk base where the rich chalk loams have been supporting farming families for generations.

The vineyard typically expects a planting success rate of 99% and it says its aim is not to make each site taste the same. Instead they should each have their own sense of place and unique character to give even more blending components to the winemakers. The estate’s ten vineyards across West Sussex, Hampshire and Kent, now have 327 hectares under vine of which 260 hectares will be producing this year.

Eric Heerema, owner and CEO of Nyetimber said: “This expansion of our vineyards reflects our confidence in the sustained long-term growth of the brand. 

“We can’t wait for these new vines to reach their full potential and the planting programme underscores our confidence, commitment and endeavour to produce the best possible English sparkling wine.”