Wine and beer maker Chapel Down increased sales by more than a fifth in the first half of the year as its boss said interest in English wine “has never been higher”.
Chief executive Frazer Thomson also dismissed fears about a frost-damaged harvest which had raised concerns since April.
He said its vineyards are yielding high quality fruit, adding he is “encouraged by the prospect of a good harvest in 2017”.
The company increased revenues by 22% to just shy of £5 million in the first six months of the year, boosted mainly by a 29% growth in wine sales to £3.3 million.
As it prepares to start construction on a brewery in Ashford, it revealed its Curious Drinks beer and cider sales grew 8% to £1.6 million.
The company planted 50 acres of new vineyards on new leased sites in Kent during the period.
It grows vines at its headquarters in Tenterden, at Blue Bell Hill and in the Weald.
Earnings before interest, taxes and other charges increased by 152% to £235,000, even as bosses made a “conscious decision to continue reinvesting any surplus cash in our people, our systems and our brands”.
Chief executive Frazer Thompson said: “Interest in English wines – and Chapel Down in particular – has never been higher and is exciting the wine world as we help to grow the sparkling wine market as well as innovate and surprise with our still wines.
“We are encouraged by the prospect of a good harvest in 2017, despite early fears of significant frost damage, with very high quality fruit which will enable us to continue to improve the quality of our wines and help us meet future demand at the premium end of the market.”
In an address to shareholders, Mr Thompson said the company’s growth had been limited “by our desire to maintain margins and ensure our positioning has not been compromised at this early stage”.
Its gross profit on wine and beer increased 18% to £558,000.
During the period, the company also won a gold medal at the International Wine and Spirits Challenge 2017 Awards for its Kit’s Coty Coeur de Cuvee 2013
This autumn the company will re-design its range, which Mr Thompson said will “reflect more clearly our winemakers pedigree, which we know consumers see as a relevant and exciting point of difference”.