Simpsons Wine Estate has completed the installation of its new Glasshouse tasting room at the winery in Barham, Kent. This was the final stage in its renovation project, which has seen the conversion of two barns into a state of the art winery, office space and visitor attraction.
Owners Ruth and Charles Simpson commissioned Rap Interiors, a Kent-based office design agency, to undertake the works. Rap was responsible for both the interior design and conversion of the space, which involved utilising a two-storey mezzanine floor within the winery.
“We know that wine tourism is a huge growth area in the UK, so wanted to make sure we have a really special visitor experience for those interested in English wine,” said Ruth Simpson. “We’ve found that people in the local area and further afield are fascinated that the UK can now produce very high-quality wines and we hope that our vineyard and winery tours, at this fantastic new facility, will help visitors learn more about it.”
Using the Simpson’s vision to create a high-end visitors facility, Rap transformed the top floor of the mezzanine into a wine tasting room by encasing it in glass and implementing a number of bespoke design features.
These include ‘S’ shaped wine bottle holders; a custom-built bar with an ocean ripple finish and integrated self-cleaning spittoons; a hanging pendant light with custom wine glass bulbs etched with the Simpson’s logo; a luxurious seating area with velvet sofas and cocktail chairs; and a helter skelter slide which transports guests down to the ground floor winery.
The helter skelter, named ‘the fruit shute’, was dreamt up by Ruth and Charles to achieve a memorable and fun, post-tasting exit from the Glasshouse tasting room.
To enhance the wine tasting experience for guests, LED floodlights were fitted in the external part of the mezzanine to light up the winery. The floodlights can dim and change colour, making for a spectacle for overlooking crowds.